Supporters of New Jersey’s Green Industry,
A bill is set to be put up for a vote in the State Assembly that will restrict neonicotinoid insecticide use to solely agricultural areas. Senate Bill 1016 and its pair, Assembly Bill 2070, will take a valuable tool away from professional licensed applicators working as landscape contractors, golf course superintendents, arborists, and anyone else who properly applies a neonicotinoid in New Jersey.
Current active ingredients on the market that would be restricted under this bill include: acetamiprid (Tristar), clothianidin (Arena, Aloft), dinotefuran (Safari, Zylam), imidacloprid (Merit, Avatar PLX, Triple Crown), and thiamethoxam (Meridian). None of these products will be available for sale in New Jersey if this bill passes.
National anti-pesticide groups are aiming to make New Jersey have the most restrictive neonic laws in the country, basing decisions on partial truths and activity in other parts of the world. They have promised legislators that the continued use of these products, even by professional applicators, will have detrimental effects on pollinators and the environment. The safe and responsible applicators in the State of New Jersey should not be the ones to pay for the agenda of these national groups.
The NJGIC is opposed to taking these tools away from professional licensed applicators who are properly trained and currently using these products in a safe, responsible manner, following an IPM plan and the product label. We do not agree that continued use of these products is going to have adverse effects on the environment or wildlife in New Jersey and to make such assumptions is an overreach of what is scientifically accepted. It is our goal to let the neonic class of insecticides be classified as restricted use and allow Certified Pesticide Applicators in New Jersey the ability to continue to use these products where needed.
Our lobbying firm, State Street Associates (SSA), has been working diligently, providing information to the main bill sponsor, Senator Bob Smith, who is a key player in having the bill amended. Members of NJGIC and SSA have testified before multiple committees to make our case in Trenton and Dr. Cristi Palmer from Rutgers represented our interests in a small science-based meeting with the Senator. While we are optimistic that a compromise can be reached with the Senator and we will see a version of the bill that we can work with, it is time to make alternative plans so we will be able to react quickly if things don’t move forward as we hope.
If our talks with the Senator stall, we are going to need you: our members, allied associations, and affected parties in the State to reach out to your local Assembly representative and tell them the effect this bill would have on your business. Licensed applicators in New Jersey are trained professionals and are not over-applying or misusing products to the detriment of the environment. Through the continued use of IPM plans and best management practices, these products can continue to be safely used throughout the State.
This is a very fluid situation and we will keep all parties up to date as we move forward. If the time comes when further action is needed we will continue to support the industry, supplying the names and contact information of key representatives who you can reach out to as well as email form letters that can be quickly filled out and sent to your local representative. Together we make sure the voice of the Green Industry in New Jersey is heard.
Thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to reach out to NJGIC with any questions. If you are not currently supporting the NJGIC, please consider doing so by becoming a member or making a donation at www.NJGIC.org. Issues in New Jersey continue to keep us busy and strain our resources. Your support makes a difference to ensure our continued representation in Trenton advocating on behalf of New Jersey’s Green Industries.
Keith Bennett, CGCS