At a meeting with the State-FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG), which is comprised of state pesticide officials, EPA announced that its Region 5 office has taken the lead in developing a guidance document intended to provide states with a "reasonable" set of instructions for conducting bee kill investigations.
A draft version of the guidance document is under review by the Office of Pesticide Programs and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and the regional office hopes to release a final guidance document on bee kill incident investigations in the spring of 2013.
According to EPA, the guidance document would promote greater consistency in how the lead pesticide agencies in states conduct bee kill investigations and would improve the quality of data received by EPA. Bee kill incidents are more complicated than other incidents, such as bird kills, because they can be difficult for investigators to determine which pesticides were used in a large area that could have led to the kill. Additionally, EPA has not received many incident reports despite allowing beekeepers to report incidents to state agencies, the National Pesticide Information Center and directly to EPA via email.
The agency also is planning to work with USDA to identify a government "point of contact" for pollinator protection issues. That official or office would be in charge of facilitating coordination of pollinator protection issues among government agencies, state pesticide agencies and other interested parties.
EPA also has established a Pollinator Workgroup within its advisory group, the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, to provide EPA with recommendations on numerous pollinator protection issues.