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Advocates want the Birds and Bees Protection Act passed in New York

J.D. Allen

With National Honey Bee Day this Saturday, environmentalists in New York are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the Birds and Bees Protection Act into law. It would cut down on the use of neonicotinoids — toxic pesticides that are harmful to pollinators, like bees.

"Neonics" — for short — are insecticides used on crops, lawns and gardens. They can also be found in flea repellents for pets.

They have been connected to the mass loss of bees, which are critical to the state’s agriculture industry. Officials say New York beekeepers have lost nearly half of their colonies every year of the last decade.

"If we're going to save the planet, we need to save the bees," said Adrienne Esposito with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

She said neonics are the most prevalent pesticide in New York’s drinking water.

“It's of particular concern on the East End of Long Island where the greatest amount of private water wells are found. And that's where the highest level of agriculture is also found," she added.

If Hochul signs the bill, advocates say New York would eliminate 80-90% of neonics that enter the environment a year, which could be replaced with regenerative agriculture practices.

It would also make the state one of the first in the nation to address this issue.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.