US (VT): Governor vetoes bill that would ban some uses of pollinator-harming pesticides

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Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill which would ban the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides in most instances. Many environmentalists and beekeepers have supported the legislation, H.706, because of research that shows the deadly impact of neonicotinoids on native pollinators and honeybee colonies.

In his letter to lawmakers explaining his veto, Scott agreed that pollinators are “essential to growing food and maintaining a healthy, thriving ecosystem.” But he contended that the “same is true of farmers, who are also critical contributors to our economy,” arguing the legislation is “more anti-farmer than it is pro-pollinator.”

“This bill unfairly targets dairy farmers reliant on corn crops,” he wrote, “and will harm farmers without achieving its goals for pollinators.” Both the House and Senate may have enough votes to override Scott’s veto. The bill had won strong support in the Statehouse, passing in a 25-2 vote in the Senate. While the House passed the bill on a voice vote, an earlier roll call vote on an amendment to the bill saw 112 votes in favor and 29 against.

Farmers use neonicotinoids to protect crops, including corn and soy, against pests such as the seedcorn maggot, which can cause significant crop losses. (A recent study from Cornell University, however, showed that the use of the pesticides may not benefit crop yield.)


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