Introduction of Highways BEE Act Great for Pollinators
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) applauds Reps. Jeff Denham (CA) and Alcee L. Hastings (FL) for introducing the Highways BEE Act, H.R. 2738, on June 11, providing a jump start to 2015 Pollinator Week.
Pollinators, like bees, butterflies, birds and other animals, bring us one in every three bites of food, protect our environment. They form the underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable future.
The Highways BEE Act has been introduced in the Congress by the joint leadership of Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus (CP2C). Over 250 national, regional, and local organizations and 2,500 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation have already signed a petition in support of such legislation.
“Many conservation approaches are viewed as adding costs – this measure is designed to help cash-strapped states reduce roadside maintenance costs, while providing habitat for pollinators and other benefits. Everyone wins; we save money, and the safety of our nation’s highways is enhanced,” Rep. Hastings said. “I greatly appreciate the longstanding leadership and support of the Pollinator Partnership in supporting this approach and legislation.”
“The bill gives states the ability to reduce roadside maintenance costs while providing better habitat for pollinators, including honey bees—similar to the efforts farmers already make to be good conservationists while they produce our food. Our pollinators are crucial to the strength of our communities and success of our agricultural industry,” noted Denham. “The Pollinator Partnership has been an excellent partner in growing understanding and support for our bill.”
“We are very excited about the prospect of increasing habitat for pollinators,” said Laurie Davies Adams, P2 Executive Director. “There are so many opportunities that this bill will encourage; and when you consider the added advantages of reduced mowing and increased beautification, this will be a major win for the states and the pollinators.”
Interested organizations, businesses and individuals can find out more and sign a petition in support of the legislation at http://www.pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.
Introduction of the legislation is an important benchmark in the five-year effort by the Pollinator Partnership to “pollinate” federal transportation law. Highway right-of-ways managed by State Departments of Transportation (DOT’s) represent 17 million acres of opportunity for cash-strapped States to both save money and improve pollinator habitat through Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM), including reduced mowing and strategic plantings of native forbs and grasses. H.R. 2738 directs the Secretary of Transportation to use existing authorities, programs and funding to assist IVM and pollinator habitat efforts by willing State DOT’s. Other original cosponsors include Reps John Conyers (MI), Chellie Pingree (ME), and Jackie Speier (CA).
ABOUT THE POLLINATOR PARTNERSHIP (P2)
Established in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the health, protection, and conservation of all pollinating animals. Pollinator Partnership’s actions for pollinators include education, conservation, restoration, policy, and research. P2’s financial support comes through grants, gifts, memberships and donations from any interested party. P2’s policies are science-based, set by its board of directors, and never influenced by any donor. To make a donation or for information on events during Pollinator Week, visit www.pollinator.org.