ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE IMMEDIATE PASSAGE OF THE “SAVE THE BEES” BILL
TRENTON – Environmental organizations are urging Assembly legislative leaders to move forward with passage of A2070/S1016, a bill which eliminates unnecessary uses of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”). The bill was approved last week by the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, and environmental groups are asking Speaker Coughlin to post the “Save the Bees” Act without further delay.
Neonics are neurotoxic pesticides that decimate bees and other wildlife populations, extensively contaminate New Jersey’s water and lands, and may be harming the health of residents. A report by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows that neonic pollution in New Jersey is widespread—finding neonics in over half of 250 water samples taken from 123 sites across the state, with most detected levels exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s chronic benchmark levels for harms to aquatic ecosystems.
A large and growing body of science confirms that widespread neonic use is a leading cause of pollinator losses and links neonics to declines in birds, the collapse of fisheries, birth defects in white-tailed deer, and a variety of health harms in other mammals, including humans.
“These pesticides are a major threat to the species that New Jersey farmers depend on for crops and that each of us depend on for our food. Pesticide companies can’t be allowed to continue to put profits over the health and well-being of our essential pollinators and health of our residents,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “We thank Assemblyman Calabrese and Senator Smith for their leadership and urge Speaker Coughlin to quickly post the ‘Save the Bees’ Act for a final vote to do our part to save the bees.”
“We are excited to see this bill that prevents the most dangerous uses of neonicotinoid pesticides in New Jersey pass out of committee and look forward to the full Assembly voting on it soon,” said Drew Tompkins, Director of Policy for NJ Audubon. “Neonics have played a major part in our decreasing bee populations, are shown to negatively impact other animals such as birds, and emerging research has identified unsettling impacts to human health, which is why moving this bill forward is so important for our state.”
New Jersey’s pollinators are disappearing, with beekeepers losing between 40% to 50% of their colonies annually for most of the last decade. Honeybees are a $7 million industry in New Jersey and—along with wild bees and other pollinators—help pollinate nearly $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables annually. These include some of the state’s most valuable food crops, including blueberries, cherries, apples, peaches, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash.
It’s been over a year since the Senate voted to pass the “Save the Bees” Bill, S1016, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (D) and Senator Kip Bateman (R), in a strongly bipartisan fashion. This legislation will address the largest and most pervasive sources of neonic contamination in the state, helping protect our clean drinking water and ecosystems for our children and grandchildren. Find out more about the legislation and why it’s necessary here.