Smart on Pesticides Maryland

About Smart on Pesticides Maryland

The Smart on Pesticides Maryland coalition works to protect Marylanders and the natural systems we depend upon from the toxic impacts of pesticides. The Coalition includes more than 55 organizations and institutions representing communities, businesses, health care providers, farmers, environmentalists, Waterkeepers, interfaith congregants as well as environmental justice, public health and wildlife advocates.

Pesticides pose a serious risk to our health, to the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways and to wildlife. Certain pesticides particularly harm honeybees and wild bees, and play a significant role in bees dying at alarming rates around the world. Research overwhelmingly shows that toxic neonicotinoid pesticides kill and harm bees, butterflies and birds – posing a serious threat to our food, public health and wildlife. In 2015, Maryland beekeepers lost 61 percent of their bees, about twice the national average and far more than is typical in a year. In addition to killing bees outright, research shows that even low levels of these toxic pesticides cause serious harm.

In 2016, the Coalition successfully worked to pass the groundbreaking Pollinator Protection Act.

Improving the Pollinator Habitat Plans Law

The 2016 Maryland Pollinator Habitat Plans law aims to restore and increase habitat for bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife. This law requires that Maryland’s Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Services and the State Highway Administration establish pollinator habitat plans for lands owned or managed by each agency.

Unfortunately, nothing in the current law ensures that pollinators in these habitats are safe from toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoids. During the 2017 legislative session, the Smart on Pesticides Maryland Coalition is working on amending the Pollinator Habitat Plans law to ensure that pollinator habitats on state lands do not use pesticides that are known to harm bees, birds and other pollinators.

We were successful in passing this legislation ((Senate Bill 386) in the Maryland Senate. Unfortunately, the House of Delegates version (House Bill 830) was significantly weakened in committee. The amended version of the bill then passed the full House on Saturday March 18th. The House version contains a harmful amendment that makes the bill much less likely to protect bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife in designated state pollinator habitat areas. The Senate version of the bill remains strong – and we will be working to pass that before Sine Die. We remain very optimistic that the strong version of the bill will prevail.

Read more about this legislation here. Check back here frequently for updates!

Saving Maryland Pollinators

Honey bees and other pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Bees pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that make up 90 percent of the world’s food supply. Many fruits and vegetables, including apples, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli, as well as almonds and coffee, rely on bees.

Tell Maryland’s Ace Hardware and other retailers if they want to keep their customers, they need to stop selling plants treated with bee-killing pesticides.

Sign the petition to Maryland nurseries.

Join Us!

If you’re concerned about pesticides, make sure you also sign up for Smart on Pesticides e-mail alerts so you can stay current on all the latest news and information: Sign up here.

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