Gov. John Kitzhaber announced the appointment of OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone to serve on the Task Force on Pollinator Health. The task force was created as a provision of the “Save Oregon’s Pollinators Act” (House Bill 4139); its job is to bring to the 2015 session new legislation to address the threat that pesticides pose to pollinator health.
According to the press release:
“So much of Oregon’s natural landscapes and agricultural lands rely on bees and other pollinators,” Governor Kitzhaber said. “These large-scale die-offs are troubling, and we need to ensure we’re encouraging best practices across the state to protect pollinators and the people and plants that depend on them.”
The legislation was prompted by several bumblebee die-offs in 2013 related to inappropriate pesticide use. The Task Force will study issues relevant to pollinator health, including pesticide regulations, public education and outreach, and best practices for pesticide management.
Representative Jeff Reardon, who sponsored House Bill 4139, said, “It is imperative that Oregon makes a strong commitment to protecting pollinators without making it impossible for farmers to do their jobs. I’m looking forward to working with this diverse group of stakeholders. I am confident they will work together to find solutions that all Oregonians will applaud.”
The Task Force expects to begin meeting in June and will submit a report to the Legislature by October 1. Voting members represent one of eight interest groups specified in the bill. The legislation also requires one legislator each from the Oregon Senate and House of Representatives to participate as nonvoting members.
Also serving on the task force are Senator Chuck Thomsen (R–District 26), Rep. Jeff Reardon (D–District 48), Ramesh Sagili (Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University), Scott Dahlman (Oregonians for Food & Shelter), Aimee Code (Xerces Society), Christy Splitt (Oregon Environmental Council), Betsy Earls (Associated Oregon Industries), and George Hansen (Foothills Honey Company). The final spot on the task force, reserved for a master gardener, is pending confirmation.
Meetings are open to the public and will begin in June. For more information about meeting times and locations, contact Beth Patrino, Legislative Committee Administrator, at 503-986-1751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.