2020 legislative session: Tuesday was the first day of the 2020 legislative session here in Minnesota — and we hit the ground running. The House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee moved forward two important bills forward. HF 721 would ban neonic pesticides in Wildlife Management Areas — you may have seen this bill last year when it had bipartisan support up until the moment it mysteriously vanished behind closed doors. Read Minnesota Organizer Willa’s Twitter thread on that story if you’re curious — but the bottom line is this bill is back and has already passed easily through the House!
The second bill that passed through the committee on Tuesday is an ambitious next step. Building on policy work undertaken last year, HF 1255 would give all Minnesota cities the right to control the use of some pesticides locally. Read more about why local control was taken away in the first place here.
These issues are both critical — this is an all-hands-on-deck moment for human health and pollinators, and both of these bills would help to reduce pesticide use in our communities. Stay tuned for what’s next!
Dicamba’s day in court: Each year since Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant Xtend seeds hit the market, farmers and rural communities have braced for record levels of damaging pesticide drift. Long before these genetically engineered seeds were developed, dicamba was well known to farmers as a highly volatile chemical. Dicamba simply doesn’t stay put, no matter how it’s applied.
That’s why Bill Bader of Bader Farms, a peach farmer in Missouri, is taking a stand in a precedent-setting lawsuit against Bayer (which purchased Monsanto in 2018) and BASF, the developers of dicamba. Bader’s peach trees were damaged by dicamba drift — and his lawsuit alleges the corporations knew their products would cause damage to farmers who were not using their dicamba-resistant seeds. The trial has unearthed internal documents showing Monsanto knew dicamba would drift, and expected thousands of complaints from farmers. Read more here.
Pesticides and deer: The owner of a wildlife rehabilitation center in Montana, Judy Hoy, has observed morphological anomalies, particularly in deer, over the past several years. One hypothesis is that these abnormalities are caused by exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides.
In a 2019 publication, researchers did an experiment on deer’s exposure to imidacloprid, a pesticide used intensively in the United States. Researchers chose a low, moderate, and high dose of pesticide to use in the study — the low and moderate doses were comparable to a range of field concentrations of imidacloprid found in Wisconsin wetlands groundwater, but higher than other environmentally relevant levels found elsewhere in North America. The researchers found that in the treatment groups, as imidacloprid increased in the spleen, fawn survival, thyroid hormone levels, and jawbone lengths decreased, among other effects. An unexpected result was that imidacloprid was found in the tissues of the control group as well, possibly due to imidacloprid being present in seed-treated feed and vegetation. Read more here.
NE Minnesota Beekeepers Association Symposium
Every year, NEMNBA co-hosts a winter beekeeping seminar with the Environmental Department of the Fond du Lac Tribal Community College.
- February 15, Fond du Lac Tribal Community College
- Learn more and register here.
MOSES Organic Conference
Make connections at one of the largest sustainable ag conferences in the country. Be sure to stop by the PAN booth and say hi to our staff!
- February 27-29, La Crosse, WI
- Learn more and register here.
In March 2017, EPA scrapped plans to ban almost all uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos nationwide — at the behest of Dow Chemical (now Corteva) and against the advice of agency scientists. Since this EPA refuses to protect our children from pesticides, it’s time for Congress to act.
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