Environmental groups are pushing for a statewide ban of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides, which they say is harmful to bees.

Graham Munro-Ludders of Environment Maine said that while several factors are contributing to a decline in pollinators such as honey bees, banning these pesticides across the state would be an important step.

“These pesticides are typically used by industrial farmers, and they’re used on a very massive scale,” Munro-Ludders said.

Environment Maine delivered a petition of 8,000 signatures to the governor’s office Wednesday, asking that Gov. Janet Mills support a statewide ban of neonicotinoids. Mills was not present to receive the petition. Press secretary Lindsay Crete said the administration “appreciates the petition delivery and looks forward to gathering more information.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deregistered 12 products containing neonicotinoids as part of a legal settlement. The settlement also requires the EPA to study potential impacts of the pesticide on endangered species.

Meanwhile, the European Union banned the three most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides for all member states.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.