Conservation Minnesota

Moving pollinators forward – not back

Throughout the current legislative session, a few different environmental bills have been brought to the House floor for discussion. Currently there are two agriculture bills which, if created into law, could have a negative impact on Minnesota pollinators. Because habitat is one of our most important environmental issues, we submitted a letter to the House of Representatives to share our thoughts on HF 1717 and SF 780.

April 4, 2017

RE: House Agriculture Bills – HF717 (Anderson, P.) and SF780 (Hamilton)

Dear Representatives,

Conservation Minnesota members have consistently told us a unified message – do something to help Minnesota’s struggling pollinator populations.

Please consider this message as you hear SF780 (the House Agriculture Omnibus Finance bill – formerly HF895) and HF1717 (the House Agriculture Policy bill) on the House floor on Wednesday. We support the pollinator habitat and research account (established by the DEA895 amendment for SF780), but we are also concerned with two omissions and the resulting effects on pollinators.

Early versions of SF780 (formerly HF895) proposed to create a dedicated pollinator protection account. This account was designed to develop an educational campaign on the use of pesticides that harm pollinators and develop stewardship materials to help guide pollinator-friendly practices. The pollinator protection account is no longer included in SF780, nor is it included in the DEA895 amendment.

In a similar fashion, early versions of HF1717 created a treated seed program. Under existing law, agricultural seeds treated with pesticides are not subject to state or federal regulation. The broad-scale use of seeds treated with pesticides such as neonicotinoids is harmful to pollinator populations. A treated seed program would provide researchers and resources to ensure the sound use of pesticides based on the best available science and Minnesota specific conditions. The treated seed program is no longer included in HF1717.

Thank you for considering our concerns. If you have questions about anything I mentioned above, or anything not mentioned above, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. In the meantime, we appreciate the concern you have for Minnesota’s natural resources, and we ask that you continue to work to protect the Minnesota we love.

Paul Austin

About Nels Paulsen

Nels Paulsen

A man of few words, but a great deal of action, Nels Paulsen serves as policy director for Conservation Minnesota. In that role, he helps the organization set our public policy strategy and then works with the field and communications teams to see that they are successfully implemented. A passion for the great outdoors was a driving force behind the Wisconsin-native’s decision to become a lawyer, and ultimately join our team. 

Saying that his perfect day includes fishing, and that the three things he can’t live without are a fishing pole, his phone and cheese, it only seems natural that he describes his favorite place in the state as being Lake Saganaga. On May 13, 1979, the state record walleye was pulled from the waters just outside the cabin his family owns up there.

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