" The move follows a regional wildlife chief’s decision on July 9 to ban neonics
in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands by 2016.
The nationwide ban, however, goes further as it also prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds to grow crops to feed wildlife.
A FWS spokesperson declined to comment on why the agency was banning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in wildlife refuges.
But in his memo, Kurth cited existing agency policy. “We do not use genetically modified organisms in refuge management unless we determine their use is essential to accomplishing refuge purpose(s),” he wrote. “We have demonstrated our ability to successfully accomplish refuge purposes over the past two years without using genetically modified crops, therefore it is no longer to say their use is essential to meet wildlife management objectives.”
GMOs have not been linked directly to the bee die-off. But the dominance of GMO crops has led to the widespread use of pesticides like neonicotinoids and industrial farming practices that biologists believe are harming other pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly
Neonicotinoids account for 40 percent of the global pesticide market and are used to treat most corn and soybean crops in the U.S.
“We are gratified that the Fish and Wildlife Service has finally concluded that industrial agriculture, with GE crops and powerful pesticides, is both bad for wildlife and inappropriate on refuge lands,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said in a statement. "