February 11, 2016

Buzz in House over Pollinator Protection Committee

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IMAGE: DAVID CAPPAERT, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, BUGWOOD.ORG

IMAGE: DAVID CAPPAERT, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, BUGWOOD.ORG

Montpellier (February 10) – Legislators in the House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products are reviewing a bill calling for the creation of a Pollinator Protection Committee in the state.

Passage of this bill would make Vermont one of only 14 states that have passed any legislation regarding pollinator health and protection, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

As it stands in the current bill, the committee’s responsibility is twofold. First, to evaluate the current threats to pollinator populations and causes for population decline in the state, and second to submit recommendations for how the state can improve conservation and protection of pollinator species and their habitats.

The house bill is in part designed as a response to several national initiatives concerning pollinator health including a 2014 memorandum from Pres. Obama calling for promotion of the health of pollinators through the creation of a National Pollinator Strategy to be developed in collaboration by the EPA and USDA.

As Committee Vice Chair Richard Lawrence pointed out, the bill is not attempting to reinvent the wheel, as there is a great deal of local and national knowledge and information surrounding the importance of protecting pollinators. The Pollinator Protection Committee’s main job will be to gather and compile that knowledge and expertise from a wide variety of stakeholders in order to formulate the most effective strategy for Vermont to approach pollinator protection.

This bill is long overdue in the state, as there is consensus among the scientific community of the negative impacts of pollinator decline, particularly regarding viability in the agricultural sector.

 

 

 

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