Birds and Bees Protection Act
A.7639 (Englebright, et al.)/S.5816 (Hoylman, et al.)
One out of every three bites of food we take exists because of pollinators. Pollinators like honeybees, birds, and bats are increasingly threatened, putting our entire food production system at risk of collapse. Honeybees are responsible for half of the state’s crop pollination and in the last five years, state beekeepers have lost between 40% and 55% of their colonies. These losses threaten state agricultural production, impose costs on farmers and beekeepers, and suggest the potential for similar catastrophic losses for the state’s 450+ pollinating species, including birds, butterflies, and wild bees.
There is a growing scientific consensus that a class of pesticides known as neonicotonoids is killing honeybees and other pollinators. They’re considered a leading, and preventable, cause of pollinator population collapse. “Neonics,” as they’re commonly known, attack the nervous systems of the creatures that contact them. The pesticides are applied to seeds and crops, enter the plants and crops themselves, and can travel through groundwater and on the wind. They’re incredibly pervasive and remain in the environment, potentially threatening human health.
The Birds and Bees Protection Act would make New York a leader in protecting pollinators. By enacting a five year moratorium and directing the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets to study neonics’ impacts, the bill allows time to fully assess their health and environmental impacts and decisionmakers time to review those findings and craft appropriate policy. Catskill Mountainkeeper supports this bill.
This bill places a five year moratorium on the sale and use of seven neonicotonoids, and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) to study and report on neonics’ impacts. The bill also directs the DEC and the Department of Transportation State make recommendations on the proper types of roadside planting to protect pollinators. Finally the bill directs DEC to work with appropriate entities to identify and implement best practices to protect migratory birds.