(St. Paul MN-) An area lawmaker is ripping Governor Mark Dayton over his ban of a pesticide that kills honey bees. Yesterday Representative Tim Miller of Prinsburg and members of the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy committee took part in an informational hearing to learn more about why Dayton issued an executive order to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on August 26th. He issued the order in hopes of reversing the decline of bee and other pollinator populations, but Miller says he did so without consulting or collaborating with farmers or agriculture stakeholders. Miller said “Everyone shares the common goal of protecting our pollinators, but once again farmers and ag interests are the ones being punished by this governor. Governor Dayton refused to sign taxes legislation that would have provided farmers with needed property tax relief. He took farmers’ land with his buffer law, and now he’s trying to tell farmers how to do their jobs.”
Miller said farmers were blindsided by the Governor’s action, which took place when the Legislature was not in session and right before fall harvest.
At the hearing, Miller said Department of Agriculture Commissioner David Frederickson attempted to explain the governor’s position. Despite this, Miller said the committee left the gathering with more questions than answers. He said “I recognize Commissioner Frederickson was placed in a difficult position. He is a friend of farmers and I know he wants to navigate this executive order in a way that serves agriculture's needs. However, the Governor placed him and his department in a very antagonistic relationship once again with farmers.”
Miller says the House had not even held a hearing on the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators prior to the executive order.
Minnesota House Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Anderson from Starbuck says it's unclear how far the governor's executive order can extend.