Assembly Strengthens Provisions of the Birds and Bees Protection Act

Speaker Carl Heastie and Environmental Conservation Chair Deborah J. Glick today announced the Assembly has passed an updated version of the Birds and Bees Protection Act, which restricts the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (A.7640, Glick). 

“Neonicotinoids threaten the quality of our water and the health of our pollinators,” said Speaker Heastie, “With the passage of The Birds and the Bees Protection Act, the Assembly Majority recommits to greatly limiting the use of this toxic pesticide.”

“This important legislation targeting the use of neonicotinoids represents a significant effort to eliminate this dangerous pesticide from persisting in our environment,” said Assemblymember Glick. “I commend all who have fought so hard in raising awareness of the harms linked to neonics, especially the decline in pollinators, and their efforts in making passage of this legislation possible.”

The Birds and Bees Protection Act would restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on certain seeds, outdoor ornamentals and turf. It would also require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Markets and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), to identify practicable and feasible alternatives to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Today’s legislation is an updated version of a bill passed last month, and continues to protect pollinators. This updated Birds and the Bees Protection Act has also passed the Senate.

In June 2020, Cornell University released a state-funded report that provided a comprehensive risk-benefit analysis of neonicotinoid insecticide use in New York State. The report found that the routine use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds does not consistently increase net income for New York field corn or soybean producers and that neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds do not consistently increase expected net income compared to untreated seeds. However, the widespread use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds incurs risks for insect pollinators.