Catskill Mountainkeeper is working with activists throughout the state to galvanize people to call for local resolutions in support of the Birds and Bees Protection Act. These resolutions will help lawmakers in Albany understand that municipalities are turning to them to lead when it comes to protecting pollinators and public health.
To get your local government to pass a resolution in support, you’ll need to take a couple of key actions:
- Email or call your town/village supervisor and board members explaining why the Birds and Bees Protection Act is critically important, and how they can help (sample email message below);
- Share the template resolution (below), asking them to pass it at their next meeting; and
- Once it’s passed, have your municipality send a copy of the enacted resolution to key state officials (identified in the resolution below) -- and send us a copy, too.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] with any questions or if we can lend a hand!
Dear [town/city/village Official Title/Name],
My name is [your name] and I’m a resident and constituent of [town/city/village]. I’m writing because pollinators like birds and bees are critically threatened and our community has an opportunity to help.
Neurotoxic insecticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics, are being released into our environment across New York State. Neonics are used everywhere: from lawns to gardens to farm fields.
These insecticides are responsible for killing massive numbers of bees and other pollinators. We depend on pollinators to grow our food, and fewer pollinators means increased food prices, reduced access to healthier foods, and food scarcity that hits low-income communities and communities of color especially hard.Neonics also pose a serious threat to human healt: these insecticides are found in the water we drink, the food we eat, and our bodies. Emerging research links exposure to neonics in the womb or early in life with heart and other congenital malformations, developmental difficulties, muscle tremors, and memory loss.
There is a solution: the Birds and Bees Protection Act (BBPA). The BBPA is a New York State bill that will ban most uses of neonics, protecting pollinators and people. I’m asking for your help in demonstrating support for the bill; will you lead in our [town/village/city] passing a resolution in support of the bill?
I’ve included a template resolution below, and I’d be happy to work with you to pass it in our community. I’m also working with organizations from throughout the state who are focused on passing the BBPA this legislative session—if you’ve got any questions, I know they’d be happy to help as well.
Thank you for considering my request, and I look forward to your response.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE BIRDS AND BEES PROTECTION ACT
[New York S699B (Hoylman et al.) / A7429 (Englebright et al.)]
WHEREAS, the Birds and Bees Protection Act concerns use of neonicotinoids, or "neonics," which is a class of neurotoxic pesticides that includes imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran, and acetamiprid;
WHEREAS, research shows that widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is a leading cause of declines in honeybees as well as wild pollinators and a threat to birds, bats, fish, and entire ecosystems;
WHEREAS, New York's agricultural economy depends on healthy populations of bees and other pollinators to produce valuable and healthy foods like apples, squash, tomatoes, cherries and other top crops, worth an estimated $439 million annually;
WHEREAS, [municipality’s] agricultural economy similarly depends on healthy populations of bees and other pollinators to produce valuable and healthy crops and foods;
WHEREAS, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other independent research have found that neonics can harm human health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that half of Americans are regularly exposed to neonics;
WHEREAS, Federal and State water testing has detected neonics in waters across New York State, with 30% of Long Island groundwater samples containing a neonic;
WHEREAS, a recent Cornell University review of over 1,100 peer reviewed papers on neonics and cost-benefit analysis of neonics against their likely alternatives ("Cornell Report") concluded that neonic-treatments on corn, soybean, and wheat seeds — which account for roughly three-quarters of all neonic use in New York agriculture — produce "no overall net-income benefit" to farmers using them;
WHEREAS, the bill would: (1) prohibit sale and use of neonic-treated corn, soybean, and wheat seeds effective January 1, 2024; (2) prohibit non-agricultural uses of neonics on turf and ornamental plants, effective January 1, 2023; and (3) require the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to consider designating other neonic uses as a "restricted use pesticide" in order to protect bee and bird populations (a "restricted use pesticide" is a pesticide that can be purchased, possessed, or used only by a person with a commercial or purchase permit issued by DEC, and that may be subject to other restrictions on its use as determined by DEC; the bill allows DEC to permit use of neonics to combat invasive species, including but not limited to emerald ash-borer and hemlock woolly adelgid); and (4) require DEC, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Markets at Cornell University, to study alternatives to neonics; and
WHEREAS, the Birds and Bees Protection Act addresses a serious threat to pollinators and ecosystems and safeguards the future of New York's food system by banning high risk, low-to-no benefit uses of neonicotinoid insecticides.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that _[municipality]_______________________:
- Does hereby support AS699B / A7429, banning neonic-treated corn, soybean, and wheat and most outdoor, non-agricultural uses of neonics; and
- Will provide a copy of this resolution to Governor Kathy Hochul; Basil Seggos, the NYS Commissioner of Department of Environmental Conservation; Howard Zucker, the NYS Commissioner of Health; Richard Ball, the NYS Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture; the New York State Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairs; and our local New York Assembly Senate and Assembly representatives, [Hon. _____________ and Hon. _________________].