Bill to Eliminate Neonic Pesticides | Greene County
In the last three weeks of the legislative session, some state lawmakers are talking about birds and bees.
Democrats, who hold an overwhelming majority in the Senate and Assembly, are pushing to advance the Bird and Bee Protection Act, or Bill S699B / A7429, to ban the sale of pesticides , insecticides and neonicotinoid or “neonic” coated seeds.
The bill, which lawmakers say will move before the end of the session on June 10, would restrict the use of neonics on coated seeds, including corn, soybeans and wheat.
Beekeepers in the state have lost more than 40% of their bee colonies almost every year over the past decade, said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan.
“A growing number of scientific studies link these colony collapses to the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids,” Hoylman said Thursday at a virtual press conference held by the Natural Resources Defense Council about the measure. “… Toxic pesticides are linked to massive losses of pollinators and bees around the world.”
The bill has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate, Hoylman said at a virtual press conference on the bill Thursday. The Bird and Bee Protection Act remains on the environmental conservation committee of each chamber.
Neonics, an environmentally harmful pesticide, harms bees, birds, fish, pollutes water supplies and may pose health risks, according to a 2020 Cornell University report on neonicotinoid insecticides of state.
If passed, the Bird and Bee Protection Act would provide targeted, science-based restrictions by banning the direct application of neonic pesticides to ornamentals and turf in 2023 and banning the sale of treated seed. neonics for corn, soybean and wheat crops in 2024. and give the State Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to regulate neon-treated seeds and implement additional user regulations pesticides that harm pollinators, bees or birds.
The bill would also direct DEC and Cornell University to study alternatives to neonicotinoids for farmers in the state.
“Some research has shown that neon lights are so harmful that they can even decrease crop yields by killing populations of predatory insects, making these crops more vulnerable to pests,” Hoylman said. “The essence of this bill is to ensure that all New Yorkers, those of us with legs and those of us with wings can sleep in a safe and healthy environment.”
The loss of pollinators is estimated at $ 440 million per year in pollination services, which allows New York’s apples, cherries and other popular crops to thrive.
Neonics contains enough toxic ingredients to kill more than 250,000 bees from a corn seed, said Dan Raichel, acting director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Pollinator Initiative.
The pesticide is designed to permeate plants, making their roots, leaves, nectar and pollen toxic to insects. Toxins are often absorbed by growing plants as they mature.
About 2% to 5% of the active ingredient enters the plant. The remaining 95% of the toxic active ingredient remains in the soil and can remain there for many years after rainwater carries the contaminants to other soils.
“If there is a water source nearby, it will be contaminated,” Raichel said.
The bird and bee protection law does not have bipartisan support, Hoylman said.
“Unfortunately at this point we don’t have bipartisan support – we wish we had,” Hoylman said. “There is probably nothing more non-partisan than protecting the environment and species such as pollinators, which are so crucial to our economy … I think Republicans would be willing to do it, but at this stadium, we have no support. of one of them.
Hoylman expressed confidence that the measure will pass through both houses of the Legislature by the end of the session.
The state’s largest neonic users have provided little to no economic benefit and may be replaced with safer alternatives, such as organic or minimum-use pesticides that are much less toxic to bees, birds, and humans. humans.
Neonic-treated seeds do not provide net income to farmers, Raichel said.
Raichel said the concentration of monopoly power of large agribusinesses is largely responsible.
“Some of these big companies, the people who make the corn and soybeans make the pesticides that come on the seeds, and they have a high price tag, so I think it might have something to do with that,” he said. he declared.
Twelve organizations, including members and volunteers, recently met with 20 state senators and members of the assembly to advocate for passage of the bill.
Several activist groups participated in Thursday’s lobbying day for the measure, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Audubon NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean and Healthy New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Earthjustice, Environmental Advocates NY, Friends of the Earth, the Good of the Hive, Physicians for Social Responsibility – New York, Sierra Club – Atlantic Chapter and Northeast Organic Farming Association – New York.