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Court Reverses EPA Approval of Pesticide Said to Harm Bees

FILE - Honeybees are displayed at the Vermont Beekeeping Supply booth at the annual Vermont Farm Show in Essex Junction.

A U.S. federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law when it approved a certain pesticide made by Dow Chemical that commercial beekeepers say is harmful to honeybees.

Environmentalists and beekeepers cheered when the court reversed the EPA's approval of sulfoxaflor, which Dow sells under the brand names Transform and Closer.

The judge said approval was based on flawed data and that sulfoxaflor is part of a classification of pesticides that are said to be highly poisonous to honeybees.

The EPA said it was reviewing the court's decision. Dow said that while it disagreed with the judge, it would work with the EPA to implement the court order.

Scientists say pesticides have played a large part in a massive die-off of honeybee hives across the U.S. in recent years.

Bees are essential for pollinating crops.

The chemical industry has disputed the link between bee deaths and pesticides.