Pollinator Action Alert

Please take a moment this week and email or call your state representative and senator and ask them to support two pieces of legislation that would bolster pollinator habitat in MA.

Don’t know who your legislators are? Use this link: https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator

The first piece of legislation is  H.4603, An Act to Protect Pollinator Habitat

Here’s a template letter: 

Subject line: Support H.4603, An Act to Protect Pollinator Habitat 

Dear Representative _____.

My name is _____, resident of _____ and I am writing to ask you to support H.4603, an Act to Protect Pollinator Habitat, by joining Representative Mary Keefe in urging the House Ways and Means Committee to move this bill to the floor for a vote. 

If passed, H.4603 would establish a commission of experts and stakeholders to study statewide opportunities for improving pollinator health by increasing and enhancing native habitat. This bill would also permit examination of many issues relevant to pollinator health, including current laws and regulations, funding, best management practices, and the use of public lands. This bill has the support of the Massachusetts Pollinator Network, NOFA/Mass, and Mass Audubon among others.

Our Commonwealth is in need of this in-depth review of policies and priorities. The Massachusetts Pollinator Protection Plan, which is voluntary and not regulatory in nature, was published six years ago in 2016; it is time to check in on our progress toward goals, to consider new objectives, and to propose policies that would allow us to make progress toward those objectives.

The loss of pollinators and other beneficial insect species is a national and regional concern. Pollinators are essential for the security of our food supply and the health and resiliency of our natural ecosystems. Pollinators contribute more than 24 billion USD to the national economy each year and over 45% of the Commonwealth’s agricultural commodities rely on pollinators. Habitat loss is a leading cause of pollinator declines, along with pesticide exposure and climate change, and there is more that we could be doing to support pollinator populations in our Commonwealth. 

Massachusetts must continue to lead the way on this issue. Twenty-two other states have passed legislation to support pollinator habitat, including CT (SB231), WA (HB2478), OR (HB3362), and MN (HF976). As your constituent, I am urging you to contact the leadership of House Ways and Means and to ask them to move H.4603 to the floor for a vote

Thank you for your consideration.



The second piece of legislation is for a pollinator-friendly provision (Section 48) of the Climate Bill. 

Here’s a template letter: 

Dear _____,

My name is _____, resident of ____. As your constituent, I am respectfully asking you to urge the Climate Bill Conference Committee to retain Section 48 in the final version of the Climate Bill (S.2842), which would reinstate DOER’s pollinator-friendly solar incentive program. This program was wrongfully terminated by the Department of Public Utilities at the start of the year.  

Until this year, DOER’s SMART program “Pollinator Adder” provided solar developers an incentive to install and maintain certified pollinator-friendly habitat on solar fields. Certification is obtained through UMass Clean Energy Extension and requires projects to use specific combinations of native plants that are known to support native pollinators — including those at risk of local extinction in Massachusetts.

However, in December 2021, the state’s pollinator-friendly solar program, administered by DOER, was terminated by its sister agency, the Department of Public Utilities, when DPU decided to disallow cost recovery for the Pollinator Adder — a decision that the Attorney General said “…inappropriately intrudes on DOER’s statutory authority to design and implement the SMART program…” (full AG response linked here).

Pollinator declines are a national and regional threat affecting our food security and the health of our natural ecosystems. Habitat loss is a primary cause of insect and bird  biodiversity loss. Through DOER’s program, 600 acres of land have already been designated for certified pollinator-friendly habitat creation in MA and the program has the potential to produce more — if it is allowed to continue.

I hope that you will urge the Climate Bill Conference Committee to retain Section 48 of S.2824 and better yet, to strengthen its language to ensure timely reinstatement of this program. Doing so will ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the way when it comes to pollinator friendly solar and support for renewables.

Thank you for your time and consideration.