Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 231

    February Session, 2016

 

*_____SB00231ENV___031416____*

AN ACT CONCERNING POLLINATOR HEALTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the Commissioner of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, shall develop best practices for minimizing the airborne liberation of neonicotinoid insecticide dust from treated seeds and mitigating the effects of such dust on pollinators. Such best practices shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Methods to minimize such dust when treated seeds are dispensed from a seed bag into seed planter equipment; (2) guidance on the positioning of the vacuum system discharge of seed planter equipment to direct such discharge toward the soil; (3) time frames for the mowing of flowering vegetation located next to crop fields; (4) identification of weather conditions that minimize drift of such dust; and (5) suggestions for the use of seed lubricants to effectively minimize the drift of such dust. Each such state agency shall make the best practices developed pursuant to this section available to farmers, any person who owns, operates or manages a farm or an agricultural facility and the general public by posting such best practices on the Internet web site of such state agency not later than February 15, 2017. For purposes of this section and sections 2 to 6, inclusive, of this act, "neonicotinoid," means any pesticide that acts selectively on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of an organism and that is required by the Environmental Protection Agency to contain a label that includes the bee advisory box.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) No person shall apply, in any manner, any insecticide that is a neonicotinoid, as defined in section 1 of this act, to any linden or basswood tree in this state.

(b) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may enforce the provisions of this section and establish a fee for the violation of the provisions of this section pursuant to section 22a-6 of the general statutes.

Sec. 3. Section 22a-50 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (l) as follows (Effective October 1, 2016):

(NEW) (l) The commissioner shall classify all neonicotinoids, as defined in section 1 of this act, that are labeled for treating plants, as restricted use pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) No person shall apply any neonicotinoid, as defined in section 1 of this act, that is labeled for treating plants to any plant when such plant bears blossoms.

(b) The Commissioner of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, may enforce the provisions of this section and establish a fine for the violation of this section pursuant to section 22-4c of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station shall establish a Pollinator Advisory Committee from the staff of such agency. Such committee shall consist of not fewer than three persons who have expertise in matters relating to the health and viability of pollinator populations in the state and who are knowledgeable of federal and other states' efforts concerning pollinator health. Such committee shall serve as an information resource for the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment and shall work collaboratively with the members of said committee on matters pertaining to pollinators in the state.

Sec. 6. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the Commissioners of Energy and Environmental Protection and Agriculture shall submit a report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment on the requisite statutory and regulatory changes for applying current statutory and regulatory restrictions and licensing requirements for the spraying of pesticides to the planting of seeds that are treated with neonicotinoids, as defined in section 1 of this act. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of the consistency of such changes with federal law and any potential effects, including, but not limited to, improved pollinator health, expenses and delays, that such changes may have on agriculture in the state.

Sec. 7. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the State Entomologist shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment on the conditions that cause an increase in the presence of varroa mites that affect honey bee and other pollinator populations in the state. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, any recommendations for legislation to assist in limiting or offsetting the effects of such conditions.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Office of Policy and Management shall amend the state plan of conservation and development adopted pursuant to chapter 297 of the general statutes to give priority to: (1) Development that includes model pollinator habitat, as described in section 11 of this act; and (2) the expenditure of state funds for conservation purposes when an aspect of such conservation includes the protection or enhancing of pollinator habitats.

Sec. 9. Subsection (i) of section 22-26cc of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(i) The Commissioner of Agriculture, pursuant to any cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture for the disbursement of funds under federal law, may require that any property to which rights are acquired under this section with such funds shall be managed in accordance with a conservation plan which utilizes the standards and specifications of the Natural Resources Conservation Service field office technical guide and is approved by such service. Additionally, such conservation plan shall require the establishment of model pollinator habitat, as described in section 11 of this act. Any instrument by which the commissioner acquires such rights and for which any such funds are used may provide for a contingent right in the United States of America in the event that the state of Connecticut fails to enforce any of the terms of its rights acquired under this section which failure shall be determined by the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Such contingent right shall entitle the secretary to enforce any rights acquired by the state under this section by any authority provided under law. Such instrument may provide that such rights shall become vested in the United States of America in the event that the state of Connecticut attempts to terminate, transfer or otherwise divest itself of any such rights without the prior consent of the United States Secretary of Agriculture and payment of consideration to the United States and may further provide that title to such rights may be held by the United States of America at any time at the request of the United States Secretary of Agriculture. In connection with such an agreement, the commissioner may hold the United States harmless from any action based on negligence in the procurement or management of any rights acquired under this section and may assure that proper title evidence is secured, that the title is insured to the amount of the federal cost paid for the interest of the United States of America and that, in the event of a failure of title, as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, and payment of insurance to the state, the state will reimburse the United States for the amount of the federal cost paid.

Sec. 10. Subsection (j) of section 22-26nn of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(j) The Commissioner of Agriculture, pursuant to any cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture for the disbursement of funds under federal law, may require that any property to which rights are acquired under this section with such funds shall be managed in accordance with a conservation plan which utilizes the standards and specifications of the Natural Resources Conservation Service field office technical guide and is approved by such service. Additionally, such conservation plan shall require the establishment of model pollinator habitat, as described in section 11 of this act. Any instrument by which the commissioner acquires such rights and for which any such funds are used may provide for a contingent right in the United States of America in the event that the state of Connecticut fails to enforce any of the terms of its rights acquired under this section which failure shall be determined by the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Such contingent right shall entitle the United States Secretary of Agriculture to enforce any rights acquired by the state under this section by any authority provided under law. Such instrument may provide that such rights shall become vested in the United States of America in the event that the state of Connecticut attempts to terminate, transfer or otherwise divest itself of any such rights without the prior consent of the United States Secretary of Agriculture and payment of consideration to the United States and may further provide that title to such rights may be held by the United States of America at any time at the request of the United States Secretary of Agriculture. In connection with such an agreement, the commissioner may hold the United States harmless from any action based on negligence in the procurement or management of any rights acquired under this section and may assure that proper title evidence is secured, that the title is insured to the amount of the federal cost paid for the interest of the United States of America and that, in the event of a failure of title, as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, and payment of insurance to the state, the state will reimburse the United States for the amount of the federal cost paid.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2017, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station shall develop a citizen's guide to model pollinator habitat that shall be made available on the Internet web site of such agency. Such guide shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Clearly stated information and steps to take for the establishment of a succession of flowers, wildflowers, vegetables, weeds, herbs, ornamental plants, cover crops and legume species to attract honey bees and other pollinators, provided such information shall include, but not be limited to, suggested groupings or clumpings of such plantings to establish a long season of continuous bloom for such plantings; and (2) information on how to protect important nesting sites for honey bees and other pollinators.

Sec. 12. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Department of Transportation shall identify opportunities in the state for the replacement of nonnative, cool-season turf grasses installed along state highways with native plant communities that include model pollinator habitat, as described in section 11 of this act. In identifying such opportunities, the department may consider, but shall not be limited to, the availability of partnerships with private entities to assist in the funding of such replacement costs. Not later than January 1, 2017, the Commissioner of Transportation shall submit a report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment and transportation on such identified areas. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, information concerning any proposed timetable for any such replacements or proposed replacements, the location and dimensions for any identified areas, information concerning any partnership with a private entity to allay the costs of any such replacement or proposed replacements, a description of the anticipated costs associated with any such replacement or proposed replacement and a comparison of such costs with the operational expenditures made to otherwise maintain such areas.

Sec. 13. Section 16-50hh of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

As part of its supervision of construction activity in connection with any transmission line project, the Connecticut Siting Council may order such restoration or revegetation of the right-of-way occupied by the overhead transmission facilities approved with any transmission line project as it deems necessary to promote the long-term restoration of vegetation in portions of the right-of-way in residential areas where there has been a significant and material loss of screening as a result of clearing activities. Such restoration or revegetation orders shall include the requirement to establish vegetation that includes model pollinator habitat, as described in section 11 of this act, and shall be consistent with all standards regarding required clearances between energized conductors and vegetation and all standards regarding minimum work distances for those working in proximity to conductors.

Sec. 14. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Commissioner of Transportation shall plant vegetation that includes pollinator habitat, including, but not limited to, flowering vegetation, in areas that have been deforested along state highway rights of way.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

New section

Sec. 2

from passage

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2016

22a-50

Sec. 4

from passage

New section

Sec. 5

from passage

New section

Sec. 6

from passage

New section

Sec. 7

from passage

New section

Sec. 8

from passage

New section

Sec. 9

from passage

22-26cc(i)

Sec. 10

from passage

22-26nn(j)

Sec. 11

from passage

New section

Sec. 12

from passage

New section

Sec. 13

from passage

16-50hh

Sec. 14

from passage

New section

ENV

Joint Favorable Subst.