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Originally published May 28 2014

Lawsuit seeks government prohibition of GMOs, bee-killing pesticides in wildlife refuges

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) They are the one place where plants, animals, and other wildlife are supposed to be protected from the machinations of human industry and commerce. But the nation's supposedly protected wildlife refuges are being taken over by the chemical and biotechnology industries, prompting a new lawsuit that seeks to ban the planting of genetically-modified (GM) crops and the spraying of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in all National Wildlife Refuges across the country.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS), in conjunction with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and Beyond Pesticides, has filed a formal legal challenge against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to protect wildlife at refuges in accordance with the law. The suit maintains that, contrary to what it has been tasked with under the law, the FWS is allowing chemical and agriculture companies to rape and pillage this precious land for profit.

As we reported back in 2011, the Obama administration betrayed the American people by opening up the nation's wildlife refuges to GMOs, under the laughable notion that things like Roundup-Ready soybeans are somehow essential for the proper management of these refuges. Numerous environmental groups, including CFS, challenged this betrayal in court, effectively banning GMOs and bee-killing pesticides from being used in certain areas of the country, but some are still at risk.

"National Wildlife Refuges are vital sanctuaries of our natural heritage, for present and future generations," says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of CFS. "Allowing chemical companies to profit by poisoning these important ecosystems violates their fundamental purpose and mission."

Flooding wildlife refuges with fake crops and chemicals goes against everything for which they were created

The whole point of establishing wildlife refuges in the first place was to give protected species a place where they could thrive without human intervention. By allowing these precious lands and wetlands to be converted into GMO plantations, the FWS is not only violating the mandates of the Endangered Species Act, but also putting the most imperiled plants and wildlife at risk of extinction, including necessary pollinators like bees.

"Permitting GE crops and neonicotinoid pesticides in Natural Wildlife Refuges threatens one of the few places that pollinators should be able to find shelter from the onslaught of toxic poisons threatening their existence and all that depend on them," adds Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

Neonicotinoid pesticides, as explained on the Beyond Pesticides website, are now widely believed to be among the leading causes of colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which large colonies of bee disappear or drop dead for no apparent reason. Such chemicals include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam, which have been banned throughout Europe.

"Pesticides and genetically engineered crops are not part of America's precious natural heritage," stated CBD toxics and endangered species campaign director Jonathan Evans, as quoted by CFS. "National wildlife refuges were founded to be sanctuaries for America's wildlife and not laboratories for agricultural experiments."

If the bees die, so will more than 80 percent of flowering plants

Without bees, more than 80 percent of flowering plants, which produce food for both humans and animals, will disappear. The result will be widespread famine and resultant food shortages, hence the importance of nipping this problem in the bud and saying no to these deadly chemicals, especially in our protected refuges.

You can read the full legal challenge as filed by CFS here:

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