honey bee

A bee drinks nectar and ferries pollen.

Advocates for pollinators and sustainable agriculture have endorsed a bill to permit Colorado localities to regulate the use and application of pesticides, which current state law largely prohibits.

“Local elected officials are best positioned to understand their own unique challenges about how to best protect their local public health, water and land,” said Sue Anderson of the People and Pollinators Action Network. “This bill will give municipalities the power to decide how to best manage local pesticide use to safeguard the health of kids playing outside, the bees and butterflies we rely on to pollinate our food and gardens and the resources that define us as a state.”

The organization, which is concerned with the negative effects of chemicals on insects and other pollinators, listed a range of possible regulations that local governments could implement, including instituting buffer areas that are pesticide free, requiring information be posted in stores that sell pesticides, or restricting specific pesticides. Although the majority of states preempt local pesticide use, 14 states permit local control.

Senate Bill 189 is sponsored by Sen. Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder, and Reps. Lisa Cutter, D-Littleton, and Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge.

Colorado is home to 946 species of bees, 250 species of butterflies and over 1,000 species of moths. Habitat loss, chemical application and lack of plant diversity are main factors that jeopardize pollinators.

“One out of three bites of food you eat is dependent upon pollinators for its existence,” Julie Morris, an associate professor at the University of Denver, told the university’s news service. “Pollinator decline in a time when we are already facing food insecurity is troubling. There’s an economic impact to that, too.”

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