McGovern and Blumenauer Introduce Legislation to Save the Bees

Pollinators are critical to global food supply chain and the environment.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States lost an estimated one-third of its honeybee colonies between 2016 and 2018 and national honey crops have remained at record-low levels. U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) are working to address this disturbing trend that poses major risks to our food supply chain and the environment.

Today, during National Pollinator Week, the lawmakers reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act to protect bees and other vital pollinators. The legislation establishes a pollinator protection board to monitor the status of native pollinator populations and suspends the use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides harmful to pollinators until experts determine that they are safe to use.

“Without our world’s pollinators, the world would be a very different place. These bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other creatures are essential elements of our food system. Losing them means we risk losing the very food we put on our table,” said Blumenauer. “We must use every tool at our disposal to provide pollinators with much-needed relief from toxic pesticides and monitor their populations to ensure their health and survival.” 

“Pollinators are the very definition of keystone species. They hold our food system – and entire ecosystems – together,” said McGovern. “We can no longer afford to put the interests of pesticide manufacturers ahead of the safety of pollinators, people, and the planet. I’m proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in introducing this bill to address once of the most critical components of the biodiversity crisis.”

Pollinators — including honeybees, bumblebees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other creatures — play an important role in our food supply. In fact, more than 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in America are pollinated by bees. On a global scale, the contribution of bees and other insects to global food production is valued at $190 billion a year. In the United States, however, pollinator populations are struggling.

The Saving America’s Pollinators Act would protect these critical creatures by:  

  • Establishing a Pollinator Protection Board, consisting of scientists, beekeepers, farmers, and conservationists who have no direct or indirect ties to pesticide companies, in order to evaluate pesticides for their toxicity to pollinators and pollinator habitat;
  • Cracking down on insecticides that are toxic to pollinators by canceling the registration of neonicotinoid pesticides or pesticides containing imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, sulfoxaflor, flupyradifurone, or fipronil until they are properly reviewed by the Pollinator Protection Board; and
  • Implementing a state-of-the-art monitoring network for native bees, ensuring that experts and the public have up-to-date information on the status of native bee populations.

The legislation introduced today in the House is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Food & Water Watch, American Bird Conservancy, Friends of Family Farmers, Center for Food Safety, National Organic Coalition, Experimental Farm Network, World Animal Protection, Portland Garden Club, Toxic Free NC, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

Full text of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act can be found here.