Insecticides Harmful to Bees Barred on Midwest Wildlife Refuges Pending Evaluation of Environmental Impact.

This case, brought by various activist groups opposed to the planting of genetically modified crops, involved a challenge to five refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System (including one in north-central Iowa) managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  The plaintiffs challenged the USFWS decision to permit the farming of GMO crops and the use of certain pesticides in the refuges.  The plaintiffs claimed that the USFWS violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by allowing farming in the refuges without NEPA analysis of the impacts of pesticide use via the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (which have been linked to harm to bee colonies) and the farming of GMO crops.  The plaintiffs sought to vacate the FWS decisions allowing pesticide use and GMO crop farming and enjoin the practices until the USFWS prepared an adequate NEPA analysis for the refuges.  With respect to the NEPA claims regarding GMO crop farming, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment with respect to the Iowa refuge, but granted it with respect to the refuge in Michigan.  With respect to the NEPA claim involving pesticides, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, and ordered the defendants to file, by April 15, 2015, a notice indicating the extent to which neonicotinoid pesticides are currently used on the refuges and where they are used.  The court ordered the defendant to "devise a plan to phase out their use as soon as practicable, but no later than January 1, 2016."  Center for Food Safety, et al. v. Jewell, No. 14-360 (CKK), 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31700 (D. D.C. Mar. 16, 2015)..