Rep. Jones’ bill to put a moratorium on certain pesticides advances

Legislative Council allows measure in for the second session
Nov 08, 2013

Augusta — A bill to put a moratorium on the use of a certain type of pesticide that causes paralysis and death in bees will be considered by the Legislature when it reconvenes in January.

“The security of our food supply depends on the health of our pollinators,” said Rep. Brian Jones, D-Freedom, the sponsor of the bill. “We need to study what effects and potentially damages our bees.”

The bill places a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for two years. These pesticides are a relatively new class of insecticides that affects the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death.

It is estimated that over the past five years, 30 percent of bees in the United States have either disappeared or failed to survive to pollinate blossoms in the spring. That’s about 50 percent more than the rate expected.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, cross-pollination helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants — including food crops — would die off.

A licensed beekeeper, Jones cited a study done by the European Food Safety Authority, which has linked exposure to neonicotinoids to the troubling trend of bee colony die-offs. So far, the European Union and the state of Oregon have banned the use of these pesticides.

The Legislative Council voted 6 to 4 on Wednesday to allow the measure in for consideration during the second regular session of the 126th Legislature.

Bills for the second session must win approval from the Legislative Council. The second session of the legislature is typically reserved for top priority or emergency measures.

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