Ensuring the health and viability of pollinators is essential for continued economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in New York State. This bill would ban the sale and usage of certain neonicotinoids and Fipronil, pesticides determined by exhaustive scientific research to be harmful to birds and bees.
Pollinators have played a key role in agriculture for the entirety of human history. Bees are especially important for the production of a litany of crops grown in New York State- apples, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes among others. These crops are responsible for over half a billion dollars of economic output in New York each year, and maintaining this output guarantees thousands of jobs and much needed tax dollars for the state.
But irresponsible insecticide use is putting this output in jeopardy. Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, are sprayed on crops to prevent their destruction by a variety of insects. However, when bees harvest pollen from a plant treated with neonicotinoids, it can cause severe damage to their central nervous system. Affected bees have difficulty flying, harvesting pollen, or navigating to their hive. These detrimental neurological affects are believed to be a direct cause of colony collapse disorder, part of a disturbing trend of massive bee colony die-off occurring across the United States.
Widespread use of neonicotinoids also has grave consequences for many species of birds. Runoff from fields treated with insecticides works its way into ponds and nearby waterways. Once in a body of water, neonicotinoids are taken up insects, and are subsequently eaten by birds. This has been proven to affect their sense of direction, as well as resulting in drastic weight loss. In order to ensure the prosperity of New York’s pollinators, and its agricultural sector, these harmful chemicals need to be banned outright.
This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law to ban several common pesticide ingredients.