NatureFirst USA

Washington Whispers: Feds Are Split on Funding for the Honey Bee Crisis

By Paul Bedard
US News and World Report
April 29, 2008

Ed Schafer knows honey bees and the disaster called Colony Collapse Disorder
wiping them out. And not just because he's the secretary of agriculture. See, he
was a two-term North Dakota governor, and that state is the nation's top honey
producer. "They certainly have an advocate in the bee situation," he tells me of
the nation's worried beekeepers.

But he's not pushing for more money to study the problem, which is that bees
leave hives and never return. Schafer says that the feds are already doing what
they can, and he shrugged off calls in Congress for at least $20 million in new
study money. "We already have it in the labs. We have this great bee guy who's
tinkering away in the lab to see what's going on," he said. The ag secretary
said that while there is still no answer for what causes CCD, it may be
disappearing on its own. "There are two areas of thought. One is that it's still
going downhill, and the other is that we've reached the bottom and it's starting
to come back up. And I've seen both studies, and we're trying to figure out why
the difference. It's a big issue." As for more money, he said that his
department doesn't need it. "You can always try to overwhelm things with money
and hopefully get a better answer. Very, very seldom do you get a better answer;
you're just wasting money."



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