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Emily May, Pollinator Conservation Biologist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; 240-645-6605; [email protected]  

Rosemary Malfi, Pesticide Policy Specialist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; [email protected]

Aimee Code, Pesticide Program Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; [email protected]

 

MONTPELIER, Vt.; May 21, 2024---Governor Phil Scott vetoed a bill Monday that would have protected bees and other wildlife from widespread contamination from neonicotinoid insecticides. May 20 is the United Nations-designated World Bee Day.

H.706, an act relating to banning the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, phases out the use of neonicotinoid treated seeds on field crops by 2029 and places restrictions on some additional outdoor uses of neonicotinoids, mirroring similar legislation passed in New York state last year.

Having been passed with a significant majority in both chambers, it is anticipated that the bill’s supporters will override the governor’s veto during a session in June.

“We are disappointed that the Governor has chosen to veto the bill and the wealth of science that supports it,” said Emily May, Pollinator Conservation Biologist at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “But we are grateful that the Vermont legislature listened deeply to testimony from scientists and farmers and crafted a policy solution that will better protect wildlife from pesticide contamination while ensuring a just transition for farmers.”

“It’s hard to believe that the governor chose World Bee Day to veto this sensible legislation to protect bees and other pollinators from toxic pesticides while supporting farmers through a just transition to safer alternatives,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Legislators will have a chance next month to override the veto and stand up for both pollinators and public health.”

Public support for this bill in the state reflected widespread recognition of the critical role pollinators play in agricultural and natural ecosystems. A recent statewide survey conducted by VPIRG revealed overwhelming agreement among Vermonters regarding the importance of pollinators and the need for pesticide regulation.

The bill includes an emergency exemption process implemented through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to grant exemptions in cases of insufficient neonicotinoid-free seed supply, financial hardship or other verification of need by farmers.


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About the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization that protects our world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Xerces works throughout North America to conserve pollinators and other invertebrates, protect endangered species, and reduce pesticide use and impacts. Our staff use applied research, policy advocacy, public education and on-the-ground habitat improvement to advance meaningful, long-term conservation. Xerces is the largest invertebrate conservation organization in the world. For over 50 years, we have been champions of Earth’s most biodiverse and overlooked animals, protecting the life that sustains us. Learn more at xerces.org.