It looks like the agrichemical and nursery industries will have their way on pollinator-friendly labeling, the Star Tribune's Josephine Marcotty reports today in Legislature considers changes to nursery law installed last year.
The veteran environmental reporter writes:
A garden plant labeled “pollinator friendly” would no longer need to be free of insecticides, under a change in state law moving through the Legislature.
Last year, after pressure from gardeners and environmentalists, lawmakers passed a rule that nurseries could not market plants as bee- and butterfly-friendly if they were grown with the controversial class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which have been implicated in the global decline of honeybees and other insects.
This year, the nursery industry has successfully pushed back. New language approved by the House Monday and before the Senate as early as today, says nurseries can advertise a flower as good for bees and butterflies as long as it’s not toxic enough to kill them after one sip of nectar or single load of pollen.
“There is a level of pesticide that is safe for pollinators,” said Tim Power, head of government affairs for the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. “Last year’s law was passed based on an emotional response rather than scientific facts.”
Advocates who supported last year’s rules change say the new language is misleading to gardeners, who assume that a label with a bee or butterfly on it means that it’s safe for insects.
“It’s not friendly,” said Kristy Allen, a Minneapolis beekeeper who testified in favor of the original law last year. “It’s like saying, well, it’s OK to eat this food that has a little bit of poison because it won’t affect you right away.”
Moreover, it makes the law unwieldy, said Vera Krischik, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota who studies insecticides and insects. . . .
Find out how by reading the rest of the article. This being the case, Bluestem recommends buying only certified organic plants and seeds, or buying from a local nursery that you know doesn't use pesticides.
Photo: Bees, an insect which consumer hope to help, but the Minnesota legislature appears to be a-okay in poisoning just a little bit.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.