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Rep. Dykema and 111 Colleagues Sign Letter of Support for Pollinator Protection

by Press Release
April 14, 2018

 

Rep. Carolyn Dykema of Holliston joined over 100 of her colleagues in the State Legislature in advocating for the advancement of H.4041, An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators, a bill currently under consideration by the House Committee on Ways and Means.

A bipartisan group of 112 legislators signed onto a letter asking that H.4041 be reported favorably from the committee and brought to the House floor for a vote. The underlying bill, filed by Rep. Dykema, is supported by two-thirds of the Legislature and was reported unanimously out of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.

“The overwhelming support for this legislation reflects the urgent need for smart, targeted action to protect pollinator health,” said Rep. Dykema. “This bill offers a common-sense solution that works to limit harmful exposure to bees, while still recognizing the need for industry professionals to retain access to these products with proper training and guidance.”

Broad support for passage of pollinator protection legislation reflects a growing understanding of the role that pollinators play in our environment and economy, as well as the challenges they face. One-third of our food production relies on bees, birds, and other pollinating insects, including many Massachusetts crops such as cranberries and apples. In Massachusetts and across the country, bees and other pollinators have seen startling losses over the last decade, with annual colony loss numbers in the Commonwealth topping 50 percent in 2015 and 2016.

Many factors have been identified as potential causes of pollinator decline, including climate change and habitat loss. However, a growing body of scientific evidence has identified the presence of neonicotinoid pesticides as an underlying cause of decreasing pollinator populations. Many peer-reviewed studies have found associations between chronic exposure to neonicotinoids, also known as “neonics,” and bee colony losses. Most recently, a study published in June 2017 in Science magazine found a startling 24 percent drop in certain bee populations after low-level exposure to neonics.

H.4041 would limit the use of neonicotinoids to trained and licensed professionals only, removing neonic products from shelves. Many large retailers have already committed to phasing out neonics, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Scotts Miracle-Gro, a major garden product manufacturer, has committed to ending production of neonic products by 2021. Two other states – Maryland and Connecticut – have already passed legislation limiting neonic use, and the European Union is currently considering a total ban on neonics for its member states.

The bill is under consideration by the House until formal sessions conclude at the end of July 2018. Upon passage in the House of Representatives, the bill would then travel to the Senate for consideration.

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Representative Carolyn Dykema represents the communities of Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough and Precinct 2 of Westborough in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

 

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