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OCA's Save the Bees Campaign

Hidden in the Infrastructure Bill Is a $2 Million Fight To Save a Vital Creature

Why is Congress trying to save the bees? It's complicated.

Buried in the United State Congress’ $1 trillion, 2,702-page-long infrastructure bill — currently in the Senate — is a short, easily skippable section with an equally small budget. 

The title: “Pollinator-friendly practices on roadsides and highway rights of way.”

Pollinators are animals — birds, bees, and butterflies — transporting pollen from one plant to another, helping plants reproduce, and keeping the humans that depend on them for food and more alive. Congress is ponying up billions of dollars for electric vehicles — but they are sparing $2 million for the fight to save these vital creatures. 

All of which begs a new question: Why is Congress trying to put money to saving pollinators inside an infrastructure bill? 

This is where we get into the surprisingly complex politics of pollinators.

WHAT’S IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL?

Counterintuitively, the effort to put money to bees is also to do with a much more obvious part of infrastructure spending: America’s roads. The part of this behemoth bill that we care about is under Section 11528. This section of Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill seeks to establish a grant program to fund approved groups who want to develop “pollinator-friendly practices” along roadsides and highways.