Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574


TRENTON - Environmental organizations applaud passage of the “Save the Bees” bill in the New Jersey legislature. Approval of the legislation will help eliminate unnecessary uses of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”), which are harming bee colonies throughout the state. New Jersey’s pollinators are disappearing, with beekeepers losing between 40% to 50% of their colonies annually for most of the last decade. 

“Scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that neonics—whose jump in usage coincides with the spike in bee losses in the mid-2000s—are a leading cause of bee colony declines. We can’t continue to put profits over the health and well-being of our essential pollinators and the health of our residents,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “Approval of the “Save the Bees” bill is a victory for all New Jerseyans, especially farmers whose livelihood is threatened by these pesticides. We respectfully urge Governor Murphy to sign the bipartisan “Save the Bees” bill into law as soon as possible.”

A report by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows that New Jersey is no stranger to widespread neonic pollution. It finds neonics in over half of 250 water samples taken from 123 sites across the state, with levels exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chronic benchmark level for harms to aquatic ecosystems in more than a third of all surface water samples. The report also shows the vast majority of tracked neonic use comes from lawn care by licensed pesticide applicators and other non-agricultural uses.

"Today's vote brings New Jersey within one step of giving pollinators, wildlife, and people the protection they deserve from neonic contamination," said Lucas Rhoads, Staff Attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "This historic bill follows the science and addresses the largest uses of neonics in the state, which happen to also be the least necessary. It's a win-win for pollinator-dependent farmers, ecosystems, and everyone worried about children's exposure to these harmful chemicals."

Honeybees are a $7 million industry in New Jersey and—along with wild bees and other pollinators—help pollinate nearly $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables annually. These include some of the state’s most valuable food crops, including blueberries, cherries, apples, peaches, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash.

"We are excited to see this bill be approved that prevents the most dangerous uses of neonicotinoid pesticides in New Jersey,” said Drew Tompkins, Director of Policy for NJ Audubon. "Neonics have played a major part in our decreasing bee populations, are shown to negatively impact other animals such as birds, and emerging research has identified unsettling impacts to human health, which is why moving this bill forward is so important for our state."

The groups thank Senator Bob Smith (D), Senator Kip Bateman (R), and Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese (D) who sponsored this legislation. It will address the largest and most pervasive sources of neonic contamination in the state, helping protect our clean drinking water and ecosystems for our children and grandchildren. The groups urge Governor Murphy to sign it into law as soon as possible. 

To find out more about the “Save the Bees” legislation and why it’s necessary here.