Rabb joins officials to highlight legislation protecting Pa. pollinators

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., state officials and industry experts held a news conference yesterday at Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens to highlight the importance of Pennsylvania’s pollinators.

Rabb joined Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, state Sen. Carolyn Comitta, state Rep. Melissa Shusterman, Tom Smarr and Frank Schneider to discuss legislation that would protect the state’s pollinators and plants by establishing a risk-based system to allow the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to prioritize inspections based on the risk of spreading diseases and pests that can harm our plants and pollinators. 

“Pennsylvania has a long history of enacting laws in protection of our pollinators and plants. In 1921, it was the Bee Law to protect bees from the deadly Foulbrood disease. In 1937, it was the Plant Pest Law to protect plant nurseries. However, the state has somewhat lost sight of its history on the subject in recent decades, allowing these laws to stagnate for more than 30 years,” Rabb said. “In the meantime, there have been significant changes in industry practices, the costs of doing business, our understanding of plant and pollinator health and even the Department of Agriculture’s enforcement authority.

“By implementing this new program, we can prevent the spread of pests that harm our environment and our pollinators through early detection.”

The bill would also increase the fees that fund inspections carried out by the Department of Agriculture.

"The Plant and Pollinator Protection Act is essential for Pennsylvania's agricultural and environmental well-being," Redding said. "By safeguarding pollinators, this legislation will ensure the continued health of our ecosystems and the viability of our agricultural industries. We commend the support for this bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and we look forward to its passage."