The Senate votes this Tuesday for the return of neonicotinoids - The Canadian
Tuesday, November 24

The Senate votes this Tuesday for the return of neonicotinoids

A plot of sugar beet without neonicotinoids, in Vimy in the Hauts de France on September 30, 2020. – ISA HARSIN / SIPA

Beet growers should have good news on Tuesday, environmentalists a little less. The right-wing majority Senate is expected to approve, after MPs, the controversial bill allowing the temporary reintroduction of neonicotinoids.

The Greens on the attack

Now forming a political group in its own right in the Senate, environmentalists will in particular be able to request a public ballot on this text which divides even the marchers. For the ecologist Joël Labbé, it is a question of “putting each one in front of his responsibilities”. The senators have already validated in committee the government text authorizing, by way of derogation, sugar beet producers to use until 2023 seeds treated with pesticides of the neonicotinoid family, banned since 2018.

The senators provided editorial clarifications in committee, but “the main balances of the text have been preserved”, according to LR chairwoman of the Economic Affairs Committee Sophie Primas, rapporteur of the text, with the aim of rapid final adoption. The derogations should in fact be effective no later than December, to give time for manufacturers to produce the seeds necessary for sowing in March.

Risk of unconstitutionality

The senators, however, worried in committee of the “legal robustness” of the text and asked the government to consolidate it. By reserving the derogations only to sugar beets, it would in fact run a risk of unconstitutionality with regard to the principle of equality before the law.

Denounced on the left as “a step backwards”, the bill will meet a barrage of rejections and deletion amendments. The new environmental group intends to oppose the text “with force”, indicates Joël Labbé. Convinced of “the extreme toxicity of these pesticides” which threaten “the entire chain of biodiversity”, the elected ecologist defends “a change in agricultural practice”. The Nicolas Hulot Foundation for its part called on parliamentarians to say “NO to the bill! “.

In 2016, Parliament voted to ban phytosanitary products based on neonicotinoids, a family of pesticides that act on the central nervous system of insects and mammals, a ban that has been fully applicable since 2018. Even if research avenues are showing promise, no alternative is currently available for producers.

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