Bee Pesticide Ban Debate Could Arise in Next Farm Bill

(BNA) — Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year’s farm bill, one of several initiatives he is pushing in the legislation to reauthorize agriculture and nutrition programs.

Thirty-one Democrats are backing a bill—the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017 (H.R. 3040)—that would suspend the approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, common insect-killers that are said to harm honeybees, aquatic insects, birds, and other insects and animals. H.R. 3040 would ban imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and any other neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency can determine that the pesticides won’t harm pollinators, based on peer-reviewed studies.

Blumenauer, one of the bill’s sponsors, told Bloomberg BNA he hopes the bill “will be folded into part of a larger initiative” like the next farm bill. Blumenauer is set to release a report next week outlining several measures to support small farmers, local food systems, and sustainability.

Blumenauer and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced a similar pollinator bill in the last two Congresses, but neither received a hearing in the House Agriculture Committee.

Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) told Bloomberg BNA that he would be open to hearing Democrats’ case for the bill.

“That will be a part of the conversation,” he said. “We need a lot more evidence on what’s causing [bee declines], but I’m willing to talk to my Democratic colleagues on this issue because it’s important to all of us. If it’s important to them, I’ll absolutely talk to them about it.”

Tennessee Rep. John Duncan and former Wisconsin Rep. Thomas Petri were the only Republicans to cosponsor the bill in the 113th and 114th Congresses.

The 2014 farm bill is set to expire next year, and lawmakers and advocates are beginning to plan which provisions will be included in the next version. That legislative package will authorize funds for agricultural commodity payments, food assistance for the poor, land conservation, and other programs. The current farm bill costs $457 billion over its five-year life span, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Most scientists agree that pesticides negatively affect bee health, but the role that neonicotinoids—often shortened to neonics—play is controversial among bee specialists. A variety of factors, like the loss of wild grasses and flowers, parasitic mites, and climate change also are stressors on pollinators.

The EPA is reviewing the risks that neonics pose to pollinators.

The insecticides have been implicated because they are coated on seeds and flow through a plant’s vascular system, showing up in pollen that bees carry back to their hives.

pair of scientific studies in Science last month linked neonicotinoids to poor reproduction and shorter lifespans in European and Canadian bees. The research was funded in part by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta AG, the makers of imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

The pesticide industry trade group CropLife America said that banning a class of pesticides would not solve the pollinator health problem.

“Neonics are evaluated, tested, and labeled so that users apply them at the right time and in the right amount according to label directions, minimizing risk to pollinators,” the organization said in a statement to Bloomberg BNA. “CLA looks forward to working with beekeepers, beekeeping organizations, and other interested stakeholders as we did in the previous Farm Bill to find solutions to the variety of challenges to pollinator health.”

Eric Silva, federal policy counsel for the American Honey Producers Association, said the organization would focus on expanding the limits for emergency financial assistance for commercial beekeepers, increasing pollinator-friendly plants on federally-funded conservation acres, and boosting cross-agency research on honeybee health.

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Honey producer’s invite to State of the Union stirs up hornets’ nest

The American Honey Producers Association hasn’t taken a position on the TPP and says the agreement is likely to have little impact on beekeepers because of their inability to increase production. The “United States is a net importer of honey with the significant majority of domestic demand now met by those imports,” said Eric Silva, the group’s federal policy counsel. “As a result of honey bee health and illicit trade challenges, American beekeepers have simply been unable to increase production to meet rising demand. Honey bee health is under assault from diseases, parasites, chemical pressures, and declining forage options.

November 12, 2015. PRESS RELEASE

CDFA Retains Lobbyist with New Firm

—NSGS’ Eric Silva to Lead Advocacy on Capitol Hill—

Columbus, OH — The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is pleased to announce the selection of North South Government Strategies (NSGS) as the Council’s legislative representation on Capitol Hill. Eric Silva, Founding Partner with NSGS, will continue his work as CDFA’s legislative representative. Silva has served as CDFA’s legislative representative for over eight years with his prior firm.

NSGS, founded by Eric Silva and John McMickle, specializes in the core policy areas of financial services, agriculture, civil justice reform, tax, and intellectual property. John McMickle, CDFA’s former legislative representative, will complement Silva’s work, and offer the institutional knowledge desired for comprehensive representation in Washington D.C.

“Eric is highly regarded for his political acumen, House and Senate connections, and financial services expertise. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Eric and believe he will provide a sound strategic vision and contribute immensely in advancing development finance policy on behalf our members,” said Toby Rittner CDFA President & CEO.

Prior to founding NSGS, Eric worked for the United States Senate and practiced law for eight years in the Government and Regulatory Affairs group of a major international law firm. He has significant experience in a number of policy areas and has successfully advocated for client interests on some of the most significant legislation of the past decade, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2008 and 2012 Farm Bills.

Mr. Silva has earned a Bachelors from Boston College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame School of Law.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies is a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. CDFA is comprised of the nation’s leading and most knowledgeable members of the development finance community representing public, private and non-profit entities alike. For more information about CDFA, visit

CDFA: Advancing Development Finance Knowledge, Networks & Innovation

Two new firms: Lehrman and McMickle-Silva

SENSE OF DIRECTION: John McMickle and Eric Silva started North South Government Strategies, a bipartisan legislative and regulatory affairs firm, with nine corporate and association clients. The firm will specialize in civil justice reform, intellectual property, tax, financial services and agriculture. Silva was most recently with Winston & Strawn and was an aide to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on environmental health and infrastructure matters, and later for Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) on HELP and Finance Committee issues. McMickle was president of JDM Public Strategies, a boutique firm he founded in 2010, and has also served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee for Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). McMickle and Silva worked together at Winston & Strawn from 2007 until 2011.


2 Lobbyists Form New Government Affairs Firm

Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter
Published: Friday, October 30, 2015

Two former Winston & Strawn LLP lobbyists have opened a new legislative and regulatory affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Winston & Strawn government relations attorney Eric Silva and JDM Public Strategies President John McMickle announced the creation of North South Government Strategies today, a firm that will focus on civil justice reform, intellectual property, tax issues, financial services and agriculture. North South also will provide assistance with congressional investigations and hearing testimony.

“Having nearly 20 years of combined international law firm experience, John and I took a hard look at the increasingly complex operating environment in Washington and made the bold decision to change things up,” Silva wrote in the announcement.

The move from a large international firm to a small outfit allows the two to be “nimble, more efficient, and more focused on each client,” added Silva. “Combine that with less overhead and fewer potential conflicts, and we think we have a winning recipe.”

Silva and McMickle worked closely at Winston & Strawn, where they overlapped between 2007 and 2010. They have represented the American Wind Energy Association on the production tax credit; Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which owns clean coal company Chem-Mod; and Markit, a large financial services provider that hosted a carbon credit registry. Silva has also represented Fugro Earth Data Inc., a geospatial mapping company that works with agencies and the private sector on flood mitigation and earth mapping.

Silva and McMickle have retained clients from their former posts, including the American Honey Producers Association, the American Bankers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Silva began his career in Washington as a fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center and the Corporation for Enterprise Development. He later worked for the late Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. McMickle served as counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001 under Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Source: Greenwire.