New York is attempting to keep the environment and certain animals safe by enacting a ban on pesticides.
While the aim of the bill certainly is noble, many people in the farming and scientific communities are saying that it could be devastating to crops in the state.
The bill, dubbed the Birds and Bees Protection Act, is awaiting the signature of Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, after the state Legislature passed the bill back on June 9. The aim of the bill is to decrease how many birds and bees are lost as a result of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Again, that’s certainly a good goal to have, but the blanket ban that has been proposed in this bill has already proven to have “devastating effects” on crops throughout Europe. Many experts in the field have even said that there isn’t a lot of evidence that shows that these pesticides have such a negative effect on the pollinators the bill is seeking to protect.
In a statement they released this month, the New York Farm Bureau said:
“The vote to ban an entire class of pesticides and treated seeds is deeply concerning, especially because of the precedent it sets. The Department of Environmental Conservation and its expertise should maintain the authority to properly review and register risk management tools, something the legislature is stripping away.”
Also known as neonics, neonicotinoids are used widely in farming. They derive from nicotine and were first created back in the 1980s. Rather than having to be sprayed on plants like other pesticides, these neonics can coat seeds that are then planted. The plant then has the pesticide already inside of it.
Critics of this type of pesticide say that it causes reproductive harm, disruption and death to many pollinators, since the pesticide lingers within the plant even after it grows.
Carl Heastie, the speaker of the New York State Assembly, released a press release that said the bill was based on scientific research that was conducted at Cornell University. That study was meant to produce an analysis of both the risks and benefits to using neonicotinoids within the state.
According to Heastie, the study showed that the pesticide presents a clear danger to the pollinators, and its usage doesn’t result in a large enough bump in income for the farmers that would warrant them using it.
Heastie’s press release said that the Cornell study was funded by New York State. According to the study, though, they received funding by the Environmental Protection Fund. That’s an activist organization that’s dumped millions into environmental lobbying efforts for more than 20 years.
The Farm Bureau in the state has been lobbying against the bill for the last few months now. They say that prohibiting this type of pesticide is against many environmental goals in the state.
The bureau also says that the technology is a superior way of controlling disease and provides usages even outside of agriculture. They said in a statement:
“Neonics are an insurance policy against crop damaging pests. … Some years, it may not be necessary, but in the years that they are needed, treated seeds can save a crop. This point is lost on many lawmakers.”