Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has taken a step toward protecting pollinators, birds, wildlife, and human health by signing the Birds and Bees Protection Act.

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This legislation imposes restrictions on the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides in the state. The Act, known as Legislation S.1856-A/A.7640, addresses the adverse effects of these pesticides and promotes sustainable agriculture and environmental health.

Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides commonly used in agriculture and horticulture. However, concerns have been raised about their impacts on pollinators like bees and other wildlife, as well as potential risks to human health.

Under the new law, the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on corn, soybean, or wheat seeds as well as on outdoor ornamental plants and turfs is prohibited, providing protections for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife in the state.

The law also allows for a grace period to encourage research and development of safer alternatives to neonicotinoids. This period will facilitate the creation of cost-effective and environmentally friendly products that can replace these pesticides.

The legislation acknowledges the importance of science-based evaluations and includes provisions for waivers to assist farm and agriculture operations during the transition period to ensure that the agricultural industry can adapt to sustainable farming practices while safeguarding the health and viability of farms that rely on pollinators.

Support for the Birds and Bees Protection Act has come from a diverse range of stakeholders. State senator and Assemblymember Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, among others, have lauded the legislation for addressing the pervasive use of toxic neonicotinoids.

Environmental advocacy groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council commend Governor Hochul for her commitment to science-based regulatory decisions and protecting both public health and the environment.

The Birds and Bees Protection Act has received endorsements from health and environmental groups like the Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Physicians for Social Responsibility. These organizations recognize the legislation as a significant advancement in ensuring cleaner drinking water, healthier food, and a more sustainable environment.

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Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

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