House bill would protect pollinators, restrict use of certain pesticides

Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides used in both indoor and outdoor settings to kill insects, but their use can unintentionally kill bees and other pollinators.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Bees are dying off in very high numbers around the world, and that could spell disaster when it comes to farming and agriculture.  Now, a new bill working its way through the legislative process could give those bees and other pollinators a fighting chance at survival in Rhode Island by restricting one of the threats they face.

Representative Rebecca Kislak of Providence is sponsoring the house bill.  Kislak says, “Neonicotinoids is a class of pesticides that has been found to be dangerous to bees and other pollinators, and also to birds and other animals that eat the pollinators.”

The chemicals in question are related to nicotine, a naturally occurring pesticide produced by some plants.  The chemicals are used in indoor and outdoor settings to kill insects.

Kislak says, “One of the things that happens is that we can go as consumers to the garden store and buy products for our garden, for our lawns, and we don’t even know that they have these pesticides in them.”

A previous version of the bill included a proposed total ban on neonicotinoids in all insecticide products.  The current version of the bill has been revised.

Kislak says, “The bill as introduced this year is a compromised piece of legislation with many exceptions.  It is not the total ban on neonicotinoids as I originally introduced it.”

Exceptions include indoor use by the general public and outdoor use by licensed professionals only.  Similar laws have been passed in other New England states.  If the bill passes and becomes law, it would take effect on January 1, 2024.

Kislak says, “I am really optimistic.  It passed in the house last year at the very end of session.  I am hopeful that we can pass it again in the house and also in the senate this year.”

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Categories: News, Rhode Island