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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Preemption' Category


15
Jul

Court Upholds Right of Local Maryland County to Restrict Pesticides, Rejects Pesticide and Lawn Care Industry Stomping on Local Rights

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2019)¬† On Friday, Maryland‚Äôs highest court upheld the right of local governments to restrict the use of toxic lawn care pesticides more stringently than the state. By denying an appeal from the pesticide industry‚Äôs challenge to a lower court ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals has made official Montgomery County‚Äôs 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits toxic pesticides from being used on public and private property for cosmetic purposes. ‚ÄúThis long-awaited decision affirms local democratic decision making to protect health and the environment, upholding the first U.S. county law to ban toxic pesticides on private and public property,‚ÄĚ said Jay Feldman, executive director of the organization Beyond Pesticides. ‚ÄúThe law, now in force, will bring critical health protections for pregnant mothers, children and other vulnerable residents in Montgomery County, and safeguard sensitive wildlife species like pollinators.‚ÄĚ The decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied […]

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03
May

State Court Upholds the Right of Local Governments in Maryland to Restrict Pesticides on All Lawns in Their Jurisdiction

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2019)¬†A Maryland Court of Special Appeals yesterday ruled that Montgomery County, Maryland has the right to restrict pesticides, under a 2015 landmark law, on all lawns and landscaped property in its jurisdiction more stringently than the state. This decision reverses a lower Circuit Court decision and upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by the industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. Nine organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, filed an¬†Amicus brief¬†in support of the county law. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied 43 states to preempt their local political subdivisions‚Äô authority. Seven states uphold local authority, including the state of Maryland, which has affirmed in its legislature the rights of localities by rejecting preemption legislation on numerous occasions. According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, ‚ÄúThis is an important win for the local organic land management movement sweeping the country, as local elected officials embrace practices that protect the health of people and the environment.‚ÄĚ The attorneys for the county expect that industry groups […]

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16
Apr

Take Action: Protect Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2019)¬†Help stop another attack on local authority in Maine ‚Äď a bellwether state that has upheld local pesticide restrictions and leads the nation. Maine has led the nation in supporting the local democratic process as communities across the state have adopted pesticide use standards on public and private property that are more restrictive than state laws. This will be the third attack on local authority in recent years ‚Äď each time beaten back with public opposition. This time preemption language has been introduced as a clause in the innocuous sounding bill¬†LD 1518, An Act to Establish a Fund for Portions of the Operations and Outreach Activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory and To Increase Statewide Enforcement of Pesticide Use. The language was introduced by Rep. Stephen Stanley (D), who ran unopposed in the 2018 Democratic primary. The bill’s language establishes barriers to local decision making, giving sole authority to the state to determine the acceptability of local pesticide restrictions. ¬†As drafted, the bill would force municipalities to submit a request to ban a substance to a statewide board, which would make the decision as to whether the community could block […]

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29
Mar

EPA Wants to Squelch State Authority to Adopt Pesticide Restrictions More Protective than the Fed

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2019)¬†The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a low-key announcement on March 19 suggesting that it may change its handling of requests from states to exert stricter controls on use of pesticides than the federal agency sets out in its registration of the compounds ‚ÄĒ by disapproving them. This is potentially a big deal because it signals that the agency will be less-kindly disposed to states‚Äô desires to establish either somewhat different parameters of use based on local conditions and needs, or more-stringent regulations on pesticide use than those set out by federal regulators. This issue of preemption of localities‚Äô desires to protect their populations and environment has become an increasingly dynamic frontier at the nexus of pesticide use, health, and environment. Beyond Pesticides has written more frequently about this issue in recent years as the tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation has risen; see more below. EPA appears distressed by some of the approximately 300 annual requests it gets to make some adjustment to the federal regulation. This can happen under Section 24(c) of FIFRA, which allows for a Special Local Need Label, which can be requested under a variety of conditions, including […]

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14
Mar

Study Finds Public Health Threatened by State Laws that Preempt Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides Community-wide

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2019) A study, supported by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, finds that state pesticide preemption laws ‚Äúcompromise public health and economic well-being‚ÄĚ by preventing localities from enacting pesticide use restrictions on private property that are more restrictive than their state’s regulations. In the words of the authors, ‚ÄúBy eliminating the ability of local governments to enact ordinances to safeguard inhabitants from health risks posed by pesticides, state preemption laws denigrate public health protections.‚ÄĚ The study, Anti-community state pesticide preemption laws prevent local governments from protecting people from harm,¬†published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, reviews scientific and historical evidence of the failure of state and federal pesticide laws to protect localities from pesticide poisoning, and highlights the inability of localities to compensate for that failure under present laws. Communities seeking to protect their residents would typically issue community-wide restrictions to ensure protection of shared community resources, including air, land, and waterways, from pesticide drift, runoff, and other nontarget effects ‚ÄĒas is the case with other community decisions on recycling, smoking, and zoning. The study’s authors document how industry influence led to the adoption of state laws that undermine the ability of localities […]

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01
Feb

Largest County in Maryland Bans Glyphosate (Roundup) in Its Parks, Pending Complete Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2019)¬†Prior to a pesticide ban taking effect in Montgomery County Maryland Parks, the Department of Parks announced in mid-December 2018 that it would discontinue the use of glyphosate-based herbicides through March 2019. The agency has used these hazardous herbicides as part of its IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program for weed management. Montgomery Parks indicates it will release further information on the use of glyphosate in mid-March. In November last year, Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker wrote to the head of Parks, supported by a community-wide petition, urging that glyphosate be banned immediately, pending implementation of the county ban. He cited the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer‚Äôs (World Health Organization) finding that the chemical probably causes cancer in humans and the $289 million jury verdict last year that the chemical caused a school groundskeeper‚Äôs non Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2016, Montgomery Parks instituted a pesticide reduction program in compliance with Montgomery County, Maryland‚Äôs 2015 adoption of County Code 33B, which aimed to regulate use of pesticides on county-owned property, including parks, and on private property. In 2017, a Montgomery Circuit Court overturned the portion of the law pertaining to a ban on private […]

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01
Oct

Take Action: Let Towns Keep the Right to Restrict Pesticides in Their Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2018)¬†Last year, pesticide manufacturers tried to undo local pesticide ordinances in a large state-by-state lobbying effort. That failed. Now they are trying to get Congress to undo these local rules in one fell swoop through an amendment in the Farm Bill. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of local governments to restrict pesticides. The chemical industry‚Äôs attempt to take away the power of local governments to regulate the use of pesticides was wrong then and it is wrong now ‚Äďmore so, given the current weakening of federal pesticide programs. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper! The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades. Against a backdrop of decades of pro-pesticide lobbying to limit local authority to restrict pesticide use in our communities and despite industry‚Äôs success, there has been nationwide action at the local level. In most states, local authority, under state law, is limited to restrictions on public property, and seven states have affirmed the right of localities to restrict pesticides on all land within its jurisdiction. Because of effective efforts across the state of Maine, […]

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13
Sep

Over 60 Local Officials Call on Congress to Protect Local Authority to Restrict Toxic Pesticides in the Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2018)¬†House proposal would wipe out communities‚Äô power to restrict pesticides.¬†In an effort to protect the rights of communities nationwide, over 60 local officials from across the country sent a letter to Congress today opposing a farm bill provision that takes away local governments‚Äô authority to restrict hazardous pesticides. The signatories are urging the farm bill conference committee to reject a ‚Äúpoison pill‚ÄĚ rider that will preempt local governments, making the entire legislation unacceptable. Section 9101 of the House version of the farm bill will institute federal preemption of local pesticide policies, a move that will overturn a decades-old Supreme Court decision and prevent communities from adopting protective laws that meet the needs of their residents or unique local environment. The letter urges the conference committee to reach an agreement on a final 2018 farm bill that does not include this rider. It was signed by over 60 local officials in 39 communities from 15 different states, ranging from North Miami, FL to South Euclid, OH, West Hollywood, CA and Maui, HI. The County Council of Montgomery County, MD, which passed a landmark policy on toxic pesticides, also sent a letter to the farm bill conference committee. […]

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05
Sep

House GOP Seeks to Scuttle Playground Bans on Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2018)¬†Local Limits on Spraying Monsanto‚Äôs Toxic Weed Killer in Parks, Playgrounds, and Schoolyards.¬†More than 50 city and county ordinances banning the use of the toxic weed killer glyphosate on local playgrounds, parks and schoolyards could be overturned by a provision championed by House Republicans in their version of the farm bill, a Beyond Pesticides and EWG analysis found. A four-page provision tucked away in the 748-page farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June would likely preempt local governments from adopting their own pesticide regulations, including ordinances that prohibit the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup, in parks and playgrounds. Beyond Pesticides found that 58 local ordinances ban the use of glyphosate. Overall, 155 local ordinances that regulate¬†the use of toxic chemicals in parks and playgrounds could be preempted by Sec. 9101 of the House‚Äôs farm bill. Glyphosate is classified by the state of California as a chemical known to cause cancer, and as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Earlier this month, a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who said years of working with Roundup caused his terminal cancer. […]

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24
Aug

Tell House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Stop Congress from Trampling the Right of Communities to Restrict Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2018)¬† We must stop the adoption of a law that will prevent local communities from restricting pesticides. Request that Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi lead the effort to protect a basic principle of local democratic decision making, especially in light of inadequate federal environmental and health protections. As a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Rep. Pelosi can stop this provision, which was unanimously rejected by Democrats in the House and is not in the Senate Farm Bill. Tell Nancy Pelosi to stand up for democracy, public health, and environmental protection in the Farm Bill! In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.2 (the Farm Bill) with a provision that prohibits local governments from restricting pesticide use on private property within their jurisdictions. Existing local laws in two states, Maine and Maryland, will be overturned with final passage of this law. In those 43 states that forbid local pesticide laws by state law, future reconsideration of such state prohibitions would be foreclosed ‚ÄĒa squelching of local authority pushed by the chemical and pest management industries.¬†The fight to defend the authority of local governments to […]

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16
Jul

Federal Bill Benefits Monsanto/Bayer, Overriding Labeling of Roundup/Glyphosate as a Carcinogen under California Law

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2018)¬† Legislative¬†Sneak Attacks Continue. Yet another bill has been introduced in Congress to remove accountability from Monsanto/Bayer for its glyphosate herbicide Roundup.™ The so-called ‚ÄúAccurate Labels Act‚ÄĚ (S.3019/H.R.6022) would repeal most, if not all, existing labeling and information disclosure laws adopted by state or local governments, including California‚Äôs Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65), which has been responsible for the removal of hundreds of dangerous toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium, and mercury, from commercial and consumer products nationwide. California listed Roundup as a probable carcinogen in 2015, requiring a label warning in the state, and California‚Äôs Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the decision in April of this year, rejecting Monsanto‚Äôs challenge to the listing. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to oppose S.3019/H.R.6022. California will not only move ahead with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate, but also, prohibit discharge of the pesticide into public waterways. Proposition 65 requires notification, primarily through labeling, of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into the state‚Äôs drinking waters. As with previous sneak attacks, Monsanto‚Äôs fingerprints ‚ÄĒ if not its name ‚Äď are all over […]

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26
Jun

House Passes Farm Bill with Provisions that Weaken Organic, Poison Waterways and Harm Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2018) On June 21, 2018, the controversial 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2) narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives 213 to 211 with provisions that will eliminate federal review of pesticide impacts on endangered species, undermine organic standards, and ease requirements regarding releases of pesticides into waterways. In May, the bill failed to pass when it got caught in the debate over immigration reform, but now this dangerous bill is much closer to becoming a major threat to the environment. The bill, H.R. 2, the Agriculture¬†and Nutrition Act of 2018, is a major win for the pesticide industry, which spent $43 million on lobbying this Congressional season, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. At the forefront are provisions that weaken the organic standards and the elimination of the requirement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) assess pesticide impacts on endangered species before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a pesticide for use. The bill also exempts those applying pesticides to lakes, streams, and rivers from having a permit under the Clean Water Act. This will allow indiscriminate contamination of waterways in spite of reports that pesticides are detected frequently and at environmentally relevant […]

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25
Jun

Groups Defend Local Right to Protect Children and Community from Pesticides; Lawn Care Industry Attacks Local Authority

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2018) Ten organizations filed an Amicus brief last week in support of a 2015 landmark Montgomery County, Maryland ordinance that restricts the use of toxic pesticides on public and private land within its jurisdiction. The law, intended to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of lawn and landscape pesticide use, is on appeal from a Circuit Court ruling in August 2017 which struck down aspects of the ordinance that apply to private property. The Montgomery County Council decided to appeal the Circuit Court ruling based on an outpouring of public support, and the advice of its legal team that the County has a reasonable chance of prevailing. The case will now be heard in front of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. The plaintiffs in the case, which include the pesticide industry group Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), local chemical lawn care companies, and a few individuals, allege that the local ordinance is preempted by state law, despite the fact that Maryland is one of seven states that has not explicitly taken away (or preempted) local authority to restrict pesticides more stringently than the state. The law at […]

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29
May

Take Action: Help Defeat the Farm Bill ‚ÄďUnless Dramatic Changes Are Made

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2018)¬†The Farm Bill is beginning to move in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and your voice is critically needed to help stop provisions that are harmful to health and the environment. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative that they should vote against the Farm Bill unless harmful provisions to health and the environment are removed. In addition to sending this urgent action on the Farm Bill, consider reaching out to your U.S. Senators and Representative when they return to your state for the Memorial Day holiday. If you‚Äôre part of a group, ask for a meeting. If you see them at an event or in town, let them know how important it is to keep the dangerous provisions listed below out of the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2, reported favorably out of the House Agriculture Committee, is stalled, after being defeated on the floor over unrelated immigration legislation. The House bill is a direct attack on organic standard setting, the authority of local governments to restrict toxic pesticides, and the protection of farmworkers, endangered species, and the environment. Without public outcry, it is likely […]

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20
Apr

Sneak Attack on Local Pesticide Laws by Chemical and Pest Management Industry in Farm Bill Passed by House Agriculture Committee

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2018) There is an extraordinary attack on local community rights to protect people and the environment from pesticides in the Republican Farm Bill, passed by the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 18 on a straight party line vote. The language inserted in the Farm Bill amends the federal pesticide law with a provision that prohibits local governments from restricting pesticide use on private property within their jurisdictions. Local laws in two states, Maine and Maryland, will be overturned with final passage of this law in the U.S. House and Senate. In those 43 states that forbid local pesticide laws by state law, future reconsideration of this prohibition, pushed by the chemical and pest management industry, will be foreclosed. Local laws protecting the environment and public health have historically emerged out of local governments, with laws related to recycling, smoking, pet waste, building codes, and zoning. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Court specifically upheld the authority of local governments to restrict pesticides throughout their jurisdictions under federal pesticide law. […]

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05
Apr

Local Democracy Wins Again as Pesticide Preemption Bill Is Voted Down in Maine

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2018) An industry-backed attempt to enact pesticide preemption in the state of Maine is officially over after bill LD 1853 was voted down by a 9-2 margin earlier this week.¬† The bill, introduced by state Senator Tom Saviello (R-Wilton), resembled a similar bill that failed in the same legislative committee last spring. With an ever increasing number of communities in Maine stepping up to protect their residents and unique local environment from pesticide contamination, the repeated introduction of preemption legislation means that health advocates and forward-thinking communities must continue to remain vigilant, and ready to fight to maintain their right to home rule. LD 1853 would have taken away the rights of Maine municipalities to enact policies which wholly apply to private property. ‚ÄúI thought if there was a bill that would come back before us again it would be different,‚ÄĚ said state Representative Richard Pickett (R-Dixfield) to the Portland Press Herald. ‚ÄúBut we virtually had almost a duplicate bill and that troubled me.‚ÄĚ While last year‚Äôs failed legislation was modeled almost word for word from the notorious industry lobby group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the changes in the new bill were superficial, and […]

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25
Oct

Farmers Challenge Oregon County’s Ban on Aerial Pesticide Spraying Adopted by Ballot Initiative

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2017)¬†Oregon is the most recent site of an effort by a locality to establish more-protective pesticide regulations than are provided by the state. Voters in Lincoln County, on the north-central Oregon Coast, approved a ballot measure earlier this year that established a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides in the county. Immediately, county landowners Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC, both of whom use aerial spraying on their properties, filed a legal challenge to the ordinance created through that vote. The issue is whether the state of Oregon has the legal authority to stop its local political subdivisions from adopting more rigorous than those enacted by the state. When the state of Maine considered legislation to preempt its local jurisdictions (take away their authority to act) this summer, Beyond Pesticides wrote, ‚ÄúThe democratic process is foundational to the culture of Maine and the country. LD 1505 betrays the democratic process. Maine communities want to be able to adopt standards that exceed or are more stringent than state standards as a matter of public health and environmental protection, or quality of life. Why would a town or city want to do use its local authority to adopt […]

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04
Aug

Court Overturns Montgomery County, MD Pesticide Restrictions, Groups Say Decision Defies Local Authority to Protect Health

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2017) A Circuit Court for the state of Maryland ¬†on Thursday struck down key components of the landmark Healthy Lawns Act pesticide ordinance passed in Montgomery County, Maryland in 2015. The court‚Äôs decision, issued by Judge Terrence McGann, eliminates pesticide use restrictions on private property, but does not touch provisions limiting toxic pesticides used on public, county owned land. Grassroots advocates who supported passage of the Healthy Lawns Act to protect children, families and the environment are dismayed by the court‚Äôs ruling, but nevertheless vow to keep up the fight for protections from hazardous pesticides used in their community. ‚ÄúThe court should have recognized that, in restricting lawn pesticides throughout its jurisdiction, Montgomery County is exercising a local democratic principle under Maryland and federal law to ensure the safety of the community, including children, pets, and the environment, from a known hazard not adequately regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the state,‚ÄĚ said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ‚ÄúAfter extensive hearings and study, the county council understands that toxic chemicals are dangerous and not needed to have beautiful lawns and landscapes,‚ÄĚ Mr. Feldman said. By passing the Healthy Lawns Act, the Montgomery […]

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22
May

Maine Committee Votes to Reject Governor LePage’s Pesticide Preemption Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2017) Last week, the Maine Legislature‚Äôs Committee on State and Local Government unanimously voted to reject a bill that would have prohibited the right of municipal governments to restrict pesticide use on private property. This victory protects the 27 cities and towns across Maine which are exercising their right to adopt pesticide restrictions that incentivize land management practices supporting healthy environments and allows other communities to follow suit. Opponents of the Governor‚Äôs bill successfully argued that its weakening of local control could violate the Maine Constitution. Proponents of the bill included industry trade groups, lawn care companies, and golf courses, who argued that the legislation was necessary to address the growing ‚Äúpatchwork‚ÄĚ of local regulations. There is no evidence of this, and on the contrary, there has been a long history of local communities adopting ordinances to respond to matters of public health and welfare. According to the Portland Press Herald, the bill, LD 1505, was a ‚Äúlate introduction on behalf of [Governor] Paul LePage and reportedly mirrored model legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative policy group that works with state lawmakers.‚ÄĚ This group and others aim to suppress or preempt local […]

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24
Feb

Oak Park and Evanston Act to Repeal Preemption, Assert Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides in Illinois

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2017) Over the last two weeks, both Oak Park and Evanston, IL have taken steps to repeal preemption of local authority to restrict community-wide pesticide use in the state of Illinois. The Village of Oak Park has approved a Resolution in Support of the Repeal of the State Pesticide Preemption, and the City of Evanston has approved a Resolution Urging the State of Illinois to Repeal Preemption of Local Regulation of Pesticides. Both of these actions urge the state of Illinois to repeal the preemption of local government regulation of pesticides and re-establish the right of local home rule governments to adopt pesticide restrictions on public and private land within their jurisdiction, as they deem appropriate. The push to pass these resolutions grew out of hard work from passionate residents and activists. For the Village of Oak Park, a local advocacy group, Go Green Oak Park, reached out to Beyond Pesticides (see PAY Mail section) for assistance in talking to itslocal board about these issues. Peggy Mcgrath, a member of Go Green Oak Park, said about the issue: “Big corporations are calling more and more of the shots. To protect our government ‚Äė Of The People,‚Äô […]

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