The Vermont House of Representatives needs to hear from you as soon as possible to ask for key improvements to H.915. Instead of protecting our bees and butterflies from bee-killing neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — 10,000 times more toxic than DDT — it relies upon public service announcements, compiling survey results and passive measures for neonic-free seeds. In short — it’s better than nothing, but could it be substantially improved by stopping the retail sale of neonics.
For eight years Vermont lawmakers have discussed protecting pollinators. The legislature’s own Pollinator Protection Committee (PPC), recommends prohibiting retail outlets from selling these toxic chemicals to consumers and banning their use on ornamental (non-agricultural) plants. However since 2010, bills that would actually protect our pollinators fail to pass, such as this year’s H.688 which contained a ban on retail neonics and other PPC recommendations.
There are 630 products on store shelves in Vermont that contain these insecticides which are lethal to key pollinators. We also know that professional pesticide applicators dumped 15,000 pounds of neonics on golf courses, lawns and ornamental plants in 2016. If we truly care about our pollinators, these non-essential uses would be prohibited.
Connecticut and Maryland have already banned the consumer use of neonics. Vermont can follow that strong lead by passing legislation to help safeguard our bees, butterflies and birds from the widespread use of bee-killing pesticides.
Thank you in advance for taking action to protect Vermont’s pollinators.
Judy Bellairs, Forest and Wildlife Committee, Vermont Chapter
Co-Chair, Pollinator Team, Sierra Club Grassroots Network