VICTORY: Gov. Newsom signs bill limiting bee-killing pesticides

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Makes California the tenth state to take similar action to save the bees

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California on Monday became the tenth U.S. state — and first West Coast state — to limit the sale of dangerous bee-killing pesticides. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB363, the Pollinator Protection Act, authored by Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and sponsored by Environment California and NRDC. The Pollinator Protection Act bans over-the-counter sales of lawn and garden neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides by 2025, thereby limiting their use to trained professionals. The bill also directs the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to complete a long overdue review of non-agricultural neonic uses.

“California is taking the sting out of an increasingly toxic environment for bees.” said Laura Deehan, state director for Environment California. “Taking these pesticides off the shelves is a critical step to saving the bees. We can now promise our pollinators, who play such a critical role for our ecosystems from the coast to the mountains, a safer Golden State. We’re thrilled that one in four Americans will now live in a state that has taken this action.”

The new law comes at a critical time for pollinator’s health in California, home to 1,600 native bee species. One recent study found that one in three native species is at risk of extinction, and part of the decline has been attributed to the overuse of bee-killing pesticides. A map recently released by Environment California found widespread contamination of California waterways by the most commonly used neonic.

Our pollinators are threatened, we know the cause, and it’s time to take action,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “It’s time to catch up to the rest of the world to save the bees. I’m thrilled Governor Newsom has signed AB 363 to eliminate harmful pesticides and protect our environment without limiting farmers.” 

Last year, Gov. Newsom vetoed a similar measure. The governor’s office engaged early in the process this legislative year, and Environment California continued to build support in communities across the state, eventually delivering more than 35,000 petition signatures urging him to take action. 

According to a recent study, neonics are 1,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT. Sublethal doses cause immune deficiencies, disorientation, making it hard for bees to forage, fly, return to their hive and complete other essential tasks such as ridding themselves of parasitic varroa mites

“Public health and ecological wellbeing throughout California are better protected today because of this new law,” says Lucas Rhoads, an attorney with the Pollinator Initiative at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “California joins nine other states that have curbed neonic pollution in the places where people live and play, taking steps to safeguard the communities and species most vulnerable to these dangerous pesticides.”

staff | TPIN

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