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It's a seeds versus bees battle in Albany

Aug 16, 2023 12:51 pm

Kate Lisa reports for New York State of Politics that the big agricultural battle in Albany is about bees and seeds. Legislators have passed the the Birds and Bees Protection Act, but some farmers don't want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign it into law. The legislation would mostly stop the use of corn, wheat, soy and other seeds pretreated with neonicotinoid pesticides that endanger bees and other pollinators needed to grow plants. While saving bees would help agricultural interests, Jeff Williams, NY Farm Bureau's director of public policy, said of the legislation, "It's another attempt to whittle away at the pest protections that farmers have every season." But those in favor of the bill say Neonics are pushing 200 endangered species toward extinction. That's about 11 percent of the endangered species list, according to a May assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dan Raichel, acting director of the Pollinator Initiative for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, "Neonics are neurotoxic pesticides known for driving mass loss of bees and other pollinators in New York and across the globe.... But we now know that their ecologically destructive impacts are likely worse than any class of pesticides since DDT." Hochul has not said yet whether she will sign the measure, but last year she vetoed legislation that would have allowed municipalities to regulate the use of pesticides on local wetlands. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.