Support Pollinator Protection, Community Sovereignty

The Pollinator Protection Act, a commonsense set of restrictions on the pollinator-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids ("neonics") has over 75% of the legislature signed on as cosponsors. Unfortunately we will still need to speak up in order for some legislators to hear us over the powerful objections of the chemical industry...  

Update: Another bill would return power to cities/towns to ban pesticides!

If the state won't move to protect pollinators (and people) from pesticides, local governments should have the right to step in! However, under 1978 Mass. Pesticide Control Act, local town/city governments don't have the right to ban harmful pesticides, even if their own Board of Health calls for it.

We are excited to announce that Rep. Dylan Fernandes and Sen. Julian Cyr have introduced two identical "Local Option" bills which would return Power to The People to protect their families, friends (including non-human pollinators!), food and water from pesticide exposure (S.447/H.776 "An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides").

With the approval of municipality's Board of Health, a city or town government would be able to "restrict or prohibit the use and application or disposal of pesticides within the city or town that are more stringent than the standards and restrictions [adopted by the state]."

Please use and share this action page to send a message to your state legislators:

Support Rep. Dykema's Pollinator Protection Act (H.763)


COSPONSOR sEN. CYR'S Local Option Act (S.447)

Note: Personal phone calls are worth 100X more than emails. We strongly encourage supporters to call their legislators directly about these bills in addition to sending an email. You can look up their names and phone numbers, here:

Background on the Pollinator Protection Act (H.763):

Pollinators (which include honeybees and other pollinating insects and animals) are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. In Massachusetts, many of our most important crops require insect pollinators, including cranberries, blueberries, and apples. These and many other crops are threatened by the precipitous drop in pollinators, and an increasing number of studies point to a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, as a primary culprit.

What are neonicotinoids and how are they currently regulated?

Since they first went on the market in the early 1990s, neonicotinoids-- a whole class of pesticides which are based on nicotine and attack receptors in insects' nervous systems—have come to dominate about thirty percent of the global pesticide market.

"Neonics," as they are often called, are:
 broad-spectrum (harmful to most insects),
  systemic (taken up by all plant parts, including roots and flowers),
 and persistent (sticks around in the environment for a long time, years in the case of soil)
and an increasing amount of research shows that they harm pollinators.

While the European Union suspended most uses of these pesticides in 2013, the U.S. EPA opted to allow current uses of neonicotinoids to continue while it conducts reviews that won't be completed for years, if ever. Legislation to impose a moratorium has stalled in Congress, and is not likely to move any time soon...

What can we do in Massachusetts?

Proposed legislation (H.763), i ntroduced by Rep. Carolyn Dykema, would place commonsense restrictions on neonics and promote pollinator habitats in the state.

This bill (H.763):

  • Restricts sale and use of neonicotinoid pesticides to certified commercial and private applicators and licensed applicators (taking neonics away from untrained consumers)

  • Requires pesticide applicators to obtain authorization to apply neonics on a client’s property prior to use.

  • Directs the Department of Agriculture to include pollinator protection in the licensing and evaluation materials for applicators.

  • Incorporates neonic limits into the existing pesticide penalty framework.

  • The Dept. of Transportation will be directed to identify opportunities for the introduction of pollinator habitats on department property (ie., along highways).

See a fact sheet explaining the bill, here. Or see the full text of the bill, here.

Update: On November 18th, days after a packed public hearing in support of pesticide reductions, the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA) Committee voted to pass H.763 from its committee! The bill is now headed to the House Ways and Means Committee, a common bottleneck for bills in the process. We will need to keep pushing to get it through! As of November 18th, the Local Option bills (S.447/H.776) are still in the ENRA committee.

Take action within seconds

Use this form to send a quick email to your state legislators asking them to support Rep. Dykema's Pollinator Protection Act and Rep. Fernandes' Local Option Act. The more people they hear from, the more likely they are to support the bill!

Please let your legislators know that you support their bold leadership on pesticides and urge them to pass this bill. Encourage them to stand up to the chemical industry lobbyists and take action to protect our pollinators. Please take action and share this page far and wide so that legislators know this is an important bill to pass this session!

Please use this form to take action, now!

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