We won a huge victory last month when the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the Birds and Bees Protection Act, an historic, nation-leading bill that will end the unnecessary use of a class of toxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics). Neonics have caused an alarming crash in pollinator populations nationwide and the EPA has recently reported that the continued use of these toxic pesticides will likely drive hundreds of endangered species toward extinction.
But our fight isn't over yet. Governor Hochul needs to sign the law and the chemical companies that produce these pesticides are now spending millions in a misinformation campaign urging her to veto this groundbreaking legislation.
This is vitally important and the bill has had widespread support from the organic farming community, environmentalists, health professionals, brewers, wineries, and advocates like you. We need your help in pushing back, so that NY’s pollinators, waterways, and communities are protected from these unnecessary toxic pesticides.
If you haven't already, send a virtual message to Governor Hochul, urging her to sign S.1856-A/A.7640: The Birds and Bees Protection Act into law today!
We are so close to achieving a huge win for New York's environment. This reasonable approach would not prevent invasive species treatment or any agricultural uses beyond treated corn, soybean, and wheat seeds, and it would benefit pollinators, our state’s farmers who depend on them, New York’s ecosystems, and all New Yorkers who value clean soil, clean water, and their own health. Send your message to Governor Hochul today!
Thank you for all you do to protect New York’s environment and communities!
To learn more about the bill and information about why neonics are harmful, see here.
Want to take additional action? You can send a physical letter of support to Governor Hochul, letting her know you support the Birds and Bees Protection Act.
Send letters to:
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Sample letter language:
Dear Governor Hochul -
I am writing to you today, urging you to sign into law S.1856-A/A.7640: The Birds and Bees Protection Act. This common-sense and strategic legislation addresses the unnecessary uses of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”). The legislation reflects the latest science and data from around the world to highlight the best ways to reduce the use of these toxic pesticides.
In 2020, Cornell released a report of over 1,100 peer-reviewed studies revealing that the neonic uses that pose the greatest threats to New York’s bees are also those that provide little-to-no benefits to users/farmers or are easily replaceable with safer alternatives. At the same time, neonics threaten whole ecosystems and pose risks to human health.
The Birds and Bees Protection Act reflects the key findings of the Cornell Report, placing a ban on neonic-treated corn, wheat, and soybean seeds, which represent 73% of the neonics used in NYS agriculture. The legislation would also impose a ban on turf and ornamental neonic uses, with the exception of use in treatment against invasive species like hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ash borer. Lawn and garden uses of neonics pose some of the greatest risks to pollinators, yet the Cornell Report finds most are not needed or easily replaceable with safer alternatives. These bans would be phased in over several years, giving seed suppliers time to provide adequate supply to NY farmers and recognizing that markets do take time to shift. Lastly, the Birds and Bees Protection Act would require DEC, in consultation with the Dept. of Ag & Markets and SUNY ESF to identify practicable and feasible alternatives to the use of neonics and look at general protections needed to conserve the health of New York’s birds and bees. Additional information can be found here, addressing misinformation regarding how this bill would impact New York’s farmers: https://bit.ly/TreatedSeedsInfo
The use of neonics in our ecosystems is unjustifiable. Data emerges every day that highlights the implications these toxic pesticides are having on our pollinators, aquatic life, mammals and humans:
- This nicotine-based neurotoxic insecticide binds to insects' nerve cells and can cause uncontrollable twitching, paralysis, and often, death. Neonics can also create a sense of directional confusion both in insects and those higher up on the food chain, including birds and aquatic life.
- Widespread neonic contamination in New York harms birds, bees, fish, and other wildlife, pollutes water, and more research is highlighting the impacts to human health as well. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9118548/)
- As recently as May 5, 2023, the USEPA released an assessment stating that use of the three most-used neonic chemicals will jeopardize the continued existence of 200+ species on the endangered species list—or about ~11% of all listed species. (https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2023-05/ESA-JAM-Analysis.pdf)
We cannot afford to lose our pollinators, much less the thousands of other species interconnected with these essential insects. New York can be a leader in science-based neonic regulation by eliminating unjustified high-cost, low-benefit neonic uses. This reasonable approach would not prevent invasive species treatment or any agricultural uses beyond treated corn, soybean, and wheat seeds, and it would benefit pollinators, our state’s farmers who depend on them, New York’s ecosystems, and all New Yorkers who value clean soil, clean water, and their own health.
I strongly urge you to sign S.1856-A/A.7640, the Birds and Bees Protection Act, into law today.
Thank you for your consideration.