Connecticut Legislation and Advocacy for Pollinators

The Pollinator Pathway advocates for legislation and policies that, directly or indirectly, support pollinator health. Toxic chemicals, whatever their origin, can leach into our air, our soil and our water, all sources of harm to pollinators as well as to ourselves. Plastic and other waste that is not recycled is either incinerated or sent to landfills, polluting air and soil. This page showcases key bills and initiatives under discussion in the 2021 Legislative Session of the Connecticut General Assembly and provides links to relevant municipal actions and ordinances that you may wish to see taken up in your own town or city. Click on a link in the list below or scroll down for specific information:

Connecticut General Assembly, 2021 Legislative Session

  • SB64 A Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos

The toxic pesticide Chlropyrifos has devastating impacts on our health, children’s developing brains, and our environment. The EPA, under the prior administration, reversed a nationwide rule that would have revoked all uses of this toxic pesticide. This means chlorpyrifos is still used in agriculture and on golf courses in CT, putting our families, rural communities and farmworkers at risk. 

You can support efforts to ban Chlorpyrifos by asking your legislator to support SB64 and request that the Environment Committee schedule a public hearing. 

Click here for a link to a sample Action Alert with suggested text for letters or emails and suggested script for phone calls.

  • Policy Protecting Trees

Sections 2 and 3  of raised bill 950 amend Section 16-234 C.G.S. to eliminate requirements in the current law to obtain a tree warden permit or notify property owners before pruning or removing a tree in a utility protection zone in which "three phase main" electric distribution wires are located.  This would include a substantial portion of all distribution wires within a municipality.  It also includes a hazardous tree that could endanger any "three phase main," which would include one on private property outside the UPZ.  Current law requires a tree warden permit and some notice to the private property owner for removal of a hazardous tree on private land outside of the public right-of-way.  

The amendments would effectively give utilities unlimited power over these trees in the public right-of-way, with no ability of tree wardens or property owners to prevent unnecessary removals, even clear cutting, and to prevent pruning that could be harmful to the health and structural integrity of the trees. 

Your written testimony -- even a simple statement of opposition to Sections 2 and 3 of the bill will be helpful -- is needed to stop this gutting of tree warden and property owner rights that ensure the preservation and protection of the tree canopy and all the benefits that it provides.  Please email written testimony to ettestimony@cga.ct.gov in Word or PDF format by 10 am on Wednesday but if you can't, no later than 9 am on Thursday." Testimony should clearly state your name and the bill number.   Please also submit a copy to your state representative and senator.  You may watch the hearing on YouTube Live.   It may also be broadcast live and recorded on  CT-N.com.  

  • PFAS 

Toxic chemicals known as Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been linked to testicular cancer, liver damage, hormone disruption, decreased responses to vaccines and other serious illnesses. PFAS are used in, among other things, firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets.

There are currently several initiatives in play to restrict the use of these harmful chemicals.

Below are links to draft PFAS-related bills

Click here to send a message to your legislator urging support for these proposals.

See also SB 837, which would ban PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam and establish a take-back program for PFAS foam. The Environment Committee will hold a public hearing on SB 837 on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:00 A.M. via Zoom. The public hearing can be viewed via YouTube Live https://www.cga.ct.gov/ytENV. The public hearing may also be recorded and broadcast live on CT-N.com https://ct-n.com/. Individuals who wish to testify via Zoom must register using the On-line Testimony Registration Form https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NVb9YUb_SNuVsCHKuCv45Q

Registration will close on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 3:00 P.M. Speaker order of approved registrants will be listed in randomized order and posted on the Environment Committee website under Public Hearing Testimony. 

 

  • Digitalization of CT DEEP

The CT DEEP’s records are currently held solely in hard copy, making it virtually impossible to undertake searches of pesticide use and regulation in the State. SB 839 has been refered to the Environment Committee and would “establish an electronic method for the retention and searching of records of pesticide applications made in the state.” 

Click here to read testimony submitted by the Darien Pollinator Pathway for a similar bill proposed last year.

  • Waste/Recycling

Citizens Campaign for the Environment is spearheading advocacy for a modernization of the CT Bottle Bill. See the attached position paper setting out recommendations for, among other things, an increase in the bottle deposit and an expansion of the types of container to which a deposit applies.

 

CT DEEP has also been engaging with CT municipalities through the CT Coalition for Sustainable Materials Mgmt. (CCSMM), an initiative to advance forward-thinking waste reduction and recycling solutions for our cities and towns. Learn more about the CCSMM process and coalition recommendations here.

Initiatives under discussion are:

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). CT DEEP Working Group materials here

Food Scraps/Organics Collection and Diversion. CT DEEP Working Group materials here

Increase Recycling. CT DEEP Working Group materials here

Unit-Based Pricing (UBP) or “pay as you throw”. CT DEEP Working Group materials here

 

  • No Net Loss of Forest Policy

The Working and Natural Lands Working Group, part of Governor Lamont’s Council on Climate Change (GC3), recognizes natural and working lands as important carbon sinks that could help mitigate emissions from electricity generation, transportation and building sectors which together account for 60% of CT’s greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, The Forests Subgroup of the WNL Working Group recommends an overarching policy of “No Net Loss of Forest”. This policy recognizes the ability of trees to drawn down or sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, providing significant potential to mitigate climate change. Trees are also effective air filters, removing pollution and particulate matter through their respiration. Their root systems filter and cleanse surface water and can slow vast quantities of water during storm events which helps prevent flooding and stormwater runoff. And then there is the cooling effect of street trees that can help alleviate the urban “heat island effect” by reducing surface temperatures that, combined with air temperatures, have caused deaths in some cities. This makes urban tree planting critical, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Trees also provide critical food and habitat for pollinators, not to mention the solace and mental health benefits we have all felt from walking in woodlands during the pandemic. 

An NNLF policy would: 1. Avoid conversion of existing forest to non-forest purposes; 2. Protect healthy forests from the impact of development; 3. Offset all forest losses; 4. Provide incentives for stewardship of forests, particularly privately owned forests and 5. Protect urban forests with more urban parks and trees, particularly in underserved communities.

Click here for background and summary of the No Net Loss of Forest policy.

Click here for information on the Municipal Funding Option, proposed legislation that would allow – but not require – municipalities to establish a  dedicated fund to acquire, preserve, and steward open space, water resources, and farmland, create and maintain urban greenspaces, and to implement climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation strategies and other environmental projects at the local level by enacting a  conveyance fee of up to 1% paid by buyers of real property over $150,000 in value. 

Concept Bill SB 466 An Act Concerning Vegetation Management by the DOT
Connecticut’s transportation corridors, which include 964 miles of state roads and 629 miles of passenger and freight rails, produce 38% of CT’s greenhouse gases. Their wooded rights-of-way (ROW) are part of our state’s extensive urban forest and are managed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Unfortunately, clear cutting has been the favored vegetative management strategy along transportation corridors throughout the state. This management approach is inconsistent with the goals of the
Governor’s Council on Climate Change recommendations and with the DOT’s mandate to install pollinator plantings along transportation corridors. 
Concept Bill SB 466 would update the DOT’s safety and vegetation management guidelines to ensure that aggressive pruning and clear cutting are not used as vegetation management. CTDOT would be required to follow guidelines that protect and enhance our natural assets instead of destroying them. Click here for more information.

Another way to help preserve our natural lands so that they are available to work as envisaged by the GC3, is to oppose the construction of the Killingly natural gas plant. Submissions to Governor Lamont who appears to be leaning towards opposing it himself, could be very helpful. Click here for testimony submitted by PPNE to DEEP in opposition to the latest permit. Click here for testimony submitted by the Darien Pollinator Pathway.

  • Environmental Justice

Watch this space for possible legislation strengthening CT’s environmental justice law.

Municipal Initiatives

HB 6441, The Governor's Act Concerning Climate Change Adaption includes several proposals which provide municipalities with funding tools to better respond to the impacts of climate change. This bill enables communities to establish a limited buyer's conveyance fee program to generate revenue for land stewardship, climate adaption, resilience, and other local environmental projects including urban forestry, invasive species control, and tree planting. To support this bill, please email a testimony to envtestimony@cga.ct.gov by March 7th by 3pm. Send a copy of your testimony to your legislators to Co-sponsor HB 6441 and testify via Zoom at the Public Hearing on March 8th at 10am at the Environmental Committee public hearing. Please click here for more information and for guidance regarding submitting a testimony. 

Resolution by the town of Cummington, MA adopting pollinator-friendly practices and urging property owners, residents, town departments, and business owners to adopt pollinator-friendly practices.

 

Additional Information and Resources

 

Useful Phone Numbers

CT DEEP Commissioner, Katie Dykes: 860.424.3001

House Democrats – 860-240-8500

House Republicans – 860-240-8700

Senate Democrats – 860-240-8600

Senate Republicans – 860-240-8800

 

Other Useful Information

How to find my CT legislator: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

 

A list of Members of the CGA Environment Committee can be found here

Email address for submission of written testimony to the Environment Committee: envtestimony@cga.ct.gov

 

To receive updates on proposed legislation, sign up for action alerts from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. The annual summit of the CLCV, which takes place at the start of each year’s legislative session, brings together lawmakers, advocates, policy experts and members to the public. The summit is a not-to-be missed opportunity to learn about key environmental issues facing the CGA in the upcoming session!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

New York Legislation and Advocacy for Pollinators

New York State faces a wide range of sustainability challenges that can greatly benefit from your support. These are the NY state bills raised at this point in the legislative session that address environmental issues affecting pollinators. The following bills have the potential to make New York into an amazing place to be a pollinator. Our elected officials hear frequently from special interests opposed to bee-friendly practices. If you live in NY, consider calling or writing your state representatives to ask them to support these bills. We have the power to protect our pollinators, greater environment, and communities by taking action. 

 

FIND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES HERE.  

  • Bill S1113 would eliminate the use of gas leaf and lawn blowers from May 1st-September 30thin an effort to address the health, environmental, and social justice impacts of these dangerous devices. Keeping fallen leaves benefits wildlife and the environment. Wildlife ranging from turtles, toads, birds, and bees rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material. Blowing leaves is particularly harmful to months and butterfly caterpillars as they overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in the spring.  Please consider signing and sharing Jill Bellenger's petition in support of NY State Senate bill S1113 and its companion bill in the state assembly, A5375 to ban the use of gas leaf blowers in the summer months. If you know any New Yorkers and NY organizations, please send it to them and  spread the word. Each signature means both sponsors and the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health committees will receive a brief email informing them that this person supports the bills.

  • Bill S3118 provides for the phase-out of pesticide use on state property and for the adoption of a state pest management plan that relies substantially on non-chemical pest control practices. It provides for the phase-out, on varying schedules, of the use of several categories of pesticides on state property; requires the department of environmental conservation to adopt a pest management plan for every state department, agency, and public benefit corporation; provides for waivers and exemptions. Please click here for more information 

  • Bill S1400/A2599 prohibits the aerial and ground application of malathion and certain pyrethroid-based insecticides. Malathion is highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects, some fish, and other aquatic life. There are several ways bees can be killed by malathion and pyrethroid-based insecticides, such as direct contact while bees are foraging or indirect contact through contaminated pollen or nectar, which can also be transported back to the colony. Please click here for more information: 

  • Bill A4082 Prohibits the use of pesticides containing Neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse and are extremely toxic to invertebrates such as insects. Common neonicotinoid insecticides include imidacloprid, a common ingredient in Bayer Advanced Garden insecticides, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam.  Research suggests these chemicals impact bees’ ability to forage for nectar, learn and remember where flowers are located, and find their way home to their nest or hive. Please click here for more information regarding this bill

  •  Bill A4596 and Bill A3833 aim to increase pesticide data and transparency for consumers regarding these toxic chemicals. Bill A4596 requires compilation of additional data on pesticidesThe first version of Bill A4596 was introduced in 2013. The bill requires pesticide businesses to submit reports to the department of environmental conservation, which reports shall be in electric format. Additionally, this bill would change the annual date by which such department must produce pesticide use and sales reporting data from July first to November 13th. These reports would summarize pesticide sales, quantify the pesticides used, categorize the applicator and region of application. Pesticide data shall be compiled and reported by both product name and by active ingredient. This bill currently sits in assembly committee. Please click here for more detail. Bill A3833 requires products containing glyphosate, such as RoundUp, to have a warning label stating that the product poses a risk of cancer. To protect ourselves, our families, and communities please support this bill and visit here for more info.  

  • Bill S8750/ A3930 Relates to the removal of species from the endangered and threatened species list Under the current New York statute, species that are afforded protection as a result of designation by the United States Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, independent of State action, are vulnerable to decisions made at the federal level. A number of New York species that are listed as endangered or threatened are currently protected based solely on their federal designation. If the Secretary of Interior were to delist these species, they would no longer be protected in New York, placing their populations and critical habitat in jeopardy. Therefore, this bill would extend the authority of the commissioner to protect endangered or threatened species that are at risk of losing protection within NY state. This bill passed in the Senate in 2020 and is waiting to be signed by the governor. To protect New York’s endangered species such as the Karner Blue Butterfly depicted below, please write to Governor Cuomo.

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