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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Preemption' Category


23
Feb

Bayer/Monsanto in Roundup/Glyphosate Case Stung with Largest Multi-Billion Dollar Jury Award, Asks States to Stop Litigation

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2024) The latest string of billion-dollar plaintiff judgments against Bayer/Monsanto, the maker of Roundup™ with active ingredient glyphosate, does not yet signal a capitulation by Bayer or a win for public health or the environment in the United States. A jury award of $2.25 billion, the largest to-date, was handed down in Philadelphia in January. As Beyond Pesticides reported previously, Monsanto has a long history of challenging scientific findings on Roundup/glyphosate and evidence of harm to human health, the environment, and crops themselves (see resistant super weeds here and here), as it seeks to avoid liability claims by those suffering from cancer.  Bayer Looking to State Legislatures for Protection from Lawsuits  As result of its failure in quash lawsuits, Bayer has moved its case to state legislatures, where it is seeking the adoption of statutes that preempt liability claims by damaged parties.  As reported by Beyond Pesticides, a rash of state legislation has been introduced in Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, and Florida, which would block plaintiff liability claims when pesticide products, like Roundup, cause harm. The chemical industry pushes the notion that the registration of its pesticide products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a […]

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23
Jan

Crusade for Local Democracy; The Saga of State Preemption Continues Into 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2024) Earlier this month, a coalition of over 140 local and state elected officials from over 30 states sent a letter to ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees to reject the proposed Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act (H.R. 4288), which would preempt local governments’ authority to protect their constituents from toxic pesticides. Members of Congress are negotiating language in the Farm Bill that would preempt local and state authority to restrict pesticides. “We write to express our strong opposition to any efforts to limit longstanding state and local authority to protect people, animals, and the environment by regulating pesticides,” says the signatories. “As Congress considers legislation related to agriculture, including the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills, we urge you to ensure that state, county, and local governments retain the right to protect their communities and set policies that best suit our local needs.” The question of local rights to adopt more stringent restrictions on pesticide use has historically been left to the states. However, after the U.S. Supreme Court (Wisconsin v. Mortier, 1991) affirmed the rights of local communities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), […]

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13
Oct

Urgent Action—Will Congress Defend Communities’ Right to Protect Public Health and the Environment?

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2023) Will the chemical industry and pesticide-dependent service industry (e.g., conventional landscaping industry) trample democratic rights and force the allowance of pesticide use against the will of communities across the U.S.? The answer is unequivocally yes, they are trying. In fact, the industries’ campaign is now playing out in the U.S. Congress, as members deliberate on the next Farm Bill. Members of Congress who advocate the pesticide lobby’s anti-democratic position are telling constituents that they do not support their right to restrict pesticides more stringently than the federal government. Please urge your U.S. Representative to sign the Congressional “Dear Colleague” Letter and uphold the right of local governments and states to restrict pesticides. Time sensitive: Please take action today (Friday, October 13, 2023) or as soon as possible. Thank you! Advocates are clearly telling members of Congress that the long-held federal-state balance of local, state, and federal authority will be broken if the federal government steps in to deny localities the authority to control pesticide use more stringently than federal law. The history is clear. The U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier (1991) found, “[The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act] FIFRA nowhere […]

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05
Sep

“Legalized Poisoning of 5,500 People” Message Highlights Controversy Over Aerial Pesticide Spray in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2023) Lincoln County, Oregon  community members are fighting a plan announced by a private landowner to aerially spray 473 acres of clear-cut forest over the Beaver Creek watershed with a pesticide mixture containing carcinogenic glyphosate (commonly found in Roundup).  The aerial spraying is slated to take place approximately one mile from a water intake at Seal Rock Water District, which supplies water to 5,500 residents. Beyond the risks to human health, residents are concerned about the impacts on wildlife in the creek valley. Local advocates describe the area to include native wetland plants, birds, and fish, including the federally protected Coho Salmon and Marbled Murrelet, beaver, river otter, and roaming elk herds. Beavercreek is also a protected state natural area, where families paddle and walk along the state park marshlands.  Neighbors of Beaver Creek and the surrounding community are organizing phone banking, public art displays, and a petition urging Governor Tina Kotek to put a moratorium on the spray operation. One of the efforts displays the message “legalized poisoning of 5,500 people” through lights projected onto a basalt rock formation at Seal Rock State Park. The community has gathered over 2,000 petition signatures and over 100 […]

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17
Jul

Grassroots Power, Democratic Process, and Organic—Pillars of Transformative Change—under Threat

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2023) Students of environmental policy quickly learn that the most meaningful change to protect health and the environment begins with action in local communities. The challenge now is to preserve the rights of communities under federal law to restrict pesticides and advance local protections through the adoption of eco- and health-friendly, organic land management practices. As is known from history, with the leadership of local communities, the states and the federal government will follow. History of Action in Communities and States Major actions on the banning or restricting of specific pesticides over the last seven decades—from DDT (in Michigan and Wisconsin), 2,4,5-T [1/2 of Agent Orange] (in Oregon [read A Bitter Fog]), to chlordane (New York)—began with calls from the grassroots about dying wildlife to elevated cancer and miscarriage rates and other diseases. But, these chemical incidents (which continue to today with similar campaigns, but different chemical names like glyphosate, imidacloprid (neonicotinoids), and others), launched broader community-based efforts to curtail overall pesticide use—stop drift, runoff and other nontarget exposure—and require organic-compatible practices. Tracing the history—from Mendocino County, CA to Lincoln County, OR, to Casey, WI (upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court), to Montgomery County, MD, to […]

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10
Jul

Take Action: Pro-Pesticide Lobby Attacks Local Democratic Process to Protect Health and Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2023) [Editor’s note to readers: The local, democratic decision-making process to adopt restrictions on pesticide use, now under attack in Congress, has historically been critical to the protection of health and the environment when federal and state governments have failed in their responsibility. This local democratic right has not only protected communities where action is taken, but it has driven state and federal policy to do better—to do what is required in a society that cares about a sustainable future. While federal and state pesticide policy sets a floor on minimum protections and rights, there is nothing more important than nurturing the local democratic process to increase and strengthen protections that elude government agencies that are unduly influenced by the powerful chemical industry. As we face existential crises of health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency resulting from gridlock in legislative bodies that ignore the scientific facts documenting harm and solutions that are within our grasp, there is nothing more important than empowering local communities to embrace meaningful changes that eliminate pesticides and adopt organic land management practices. These changes embrace nature and ecosystem services. While the federal regulatory process is skewed toward assumptions of […]

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07
Jul

Pesticide Lobby Pushes Farm Bill Amendment to Strip Localities and States from Restricting Pesticides

The introduction of the Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, expected to be a part of the Farm Bill negotiations, is raising the specter (yet again) of undermining local and state authority to protect the health of their residents from pesticides—effectively overturning decades of Supreme Court precedent.

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08
May

Take Action: Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides under Threat of Federal Preemption in Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2023) The Farm Bill in Congress covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—and the pesticide industry would like to insert a provision that takes away (preempts) local authority to restrict pesticide use—which would undercut the local democratic process to protect public health and safety. Even if communities are not now regulating toxic pesticides, we do not want to close the door on future action, as communities take on petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use that is contributing to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.    Part 1: Tell your local officials to sign onto a letter opposing the preemption language. Part 2: Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing anti-democratic preemption language in the 2023 Farm Bill.  As Congress drafts the 2023 Farm Bill, there is an opportunity for many topics—good and bad—to be introduced. Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It is designed to secure a sufficient food supply, establish fair food prices for both farmers and consumers, and protect […]

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04
Apr

Pesticide Industry Lobbying Congress with Misinformation to Prohibit Local Pesticide Policies

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2023) The pesticide industry focused the entirety of their “legislative day” late last month on an effort to roll back local democratic decision making and implement federal pesticide preemption of local governance in the Farm Bill. “Something that most people don’t know,” J.D. Darr, the director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association told Pest Control Technology (PCT), “is that the Ag Committee does have oversight of a small sliver of FIFRA. So, the Farm Bill is a really good vehicle for us making regulatory decisions surrounding pesticide.” Contrary to Mr. Darr’s statement, pesticide reform advocates are well aware of the threat the pesticide industry poses in the 2023 Farm Bill, having defeated a similar effort in 2018, and repeated attempts to implement pesticide preemption in the preemption-free states of Maine and Maryland. Reform advocates are pushing Congress to include in the Farm Bill diametrically opposing language already contained with Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act. The pesticide industry’s lobby day attempted to soften the industry’ image in Congress by including a range of non-pesticide related issues, such as a “friendly political discussion” between conservative columnist Jonah […]

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07
Feb

Pesticide Reform Bill Reintroduced in U.S. Senate, Advocates Call Changes Major But Not Systemic Ones Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2023) U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced legislation last week to increase protections against exposure to toxic pesticides. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, addresses many of the controversial issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. This major reform legislation tackles some of the documented deficiencies in the regulation of pesticides and removes a number of loopholes in the law. The legislation, introduced with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), also includes a ban on all organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides, as well as  the weed killer paraquat, which is known to cause Parkinson’s disease and lung fibrosis. Despite these reform provisions, the legislation does not touch the core of FIFRA’s pesticide registration process and chart a path for the systemic, transformative change that Beyond Pesticides says is essential to meet the existential challenges of current times—devastating health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. FIFRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the agriculture committees of Congress, has long been criticized for failing to protect the public and workers […]

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19
Dec

In New Congress, Republican-Led Legislation Would Prevent Local Governments from Protecting Health and Safety

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2022) As the new 118th Congress convenes on January 3, 2023, one of the key issues on the agenda led by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives is preemption of local authority to restrict pesticide use—undercutting the local democratic process to protect public health and safety. In the 117th Congress, H.R. 7266 was introduced to prohibit local governments from adopting pesticide laws that are more protective than federal and state rules. If H.R. 7266 were to pass or be incorporated into the 2023 Farm Bill, as the pesticide industry and proponents of the legislation plan to do, this bill would overturn decades of precedent as well as prevent local governments from protecting their residents from hazardous chemicals in their environment.   This is a direct assault on nearly 200 communities across the country that have passed their own policies to restrict the use of toxic pesticides. Communities must maintain the right to restrict pesticides linked to cancer, water-contamination, and the decline of pollinators to protect their resident’s health and unique local ecosystems.   Take action today and tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 (and successor legislation in the new Congress) […]

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29
Aug

Local Pesticide Restrictions Critical to Health, Biodiversity, and Climate

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2022) Does your community have a pesticide-free park managed with organic practices? Do you wish it did? If you do have an organic parks policy, do you have updated information on current practices? It is time to take action to affirm or protect our authority to shift land management in our communities to organic practices—just as the pesticide industry is lobbying to take that right away from us. Become a Parks Advocate. And, take the action below. Advance organic land management in your community and ask your Mayor/County Commissioner/Town Manager to affirm or protect your community’s right to restrict toxic pesticides. If your community is one of a growing number across the country that has taken action to protect its citizens and environment by adopting organic policies and practices in its public spaces, please take this opportunity to request an update on how organic land management is going or ask that the community begin transitioning to organic land management. At the same time, be aware that the pesticide industry is seeking take away the ability of local communities to restrict toxic pesticides. Ask your Mayor/County Commissioner/Town Manager to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators, on your […]

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17
Aug

Take Action: Legislation Upholding Local Authority to Protect Waterways from Pesticides Awaits NY Governor’s Signature

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2022) Health and environmental advocates are urging Governor Kathy Hochul (D) to sign into law legislation that allows localities in the state to protect freshwater wetlands from toxic pesticide applications. The legislation, SB S8378C, sponsored by Senator Pete Harckham (D-WF) and passed by the state Senate and Assembly, represents an important affirmation of the local democratic right of communities seeking to protect their residents and local environments from hazardous pesticides. The state-level legislation comes at a time when local communities are under attack from pesticide industry allies in Congress, who are promoting legislation to “preempt” or prohibit states from enacting these laws, and localities from exercising their right to local control. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature. Underlying Senator Harckham’s legislation is the principle that local communities should be able to set rules to protect their drinking water from contamination. Local officials, Sen. Harckham notes, know their wetlands and aquifer systems best. “Pesticides and herbicides should not have blanket application if a municipality chooses to regulate their local wetlands that way,” he told Spectrum News 1. Under the proposed legislation, a locality may enact pesticide restrictions only if the local government has already implemented a […]

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08
Aug

Stop Chemical and Service Industry from Restricting Local Authority to Protect Health and Local Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2022) The pesticide industry has selected August as Anti-Democracy Month, as it launches a month-long campaign to undermine local control over pesticides. The National Pest Management Association is encouraging members to lobby members of Congress in August to support H.R. 7266, to “prohibit local regulations relating to the sale, distribution, labeling, application, or use of any pesticide or device” subject to state or federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Beyond Pesticides urges you to make August Preserve Local Democracy Month by participating in actions in support of allowing communities to protect themselves from chemical exposure when state and federal regulation is inadequate. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 and supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which contains a provision affirming local authority to restrict pesticides. 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. In Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, the Court ruled that federal […]

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07
Apr

Industry, Money, and Politics Drive Legislation to Squelch Local Pesticide Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2022) Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) last week would roll back, preempt, and prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting policies that protect resident health and a community’s unique local environments from hazardous pesticides. The bill, H.R.7266, is a direct attack on the scores of local communities that have enacted common sense safeguards from toxic pesticides, and represents the pesticide industry’s response to the growing momentum of the pesticide reform movement. Health and environmental advocates are expecting Rep. Davis and his partners in the agrichemical industry to attempt to work the provisions of the legislation into the upcoming 2023 farm bill. The industry had previously attempted to work federal preemption into the 2018 farm bill, an effort that ultimately failed after massive pushback from health advocates, local officials, and Congressional allies. Rep. Davis’ press release for the bill, in which he was joined with quotes from a range of agrichemical industry leaders, is titled “Davis Introduces Legislation to Prevent Liberal Local Governments from Banning or Restricting Pesticide Use,” striking a partisan tone. Caring about public and environmental health is typically not viewed as a liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican issue. Those monitoring local governments […]

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21
Dec

Stop EPA from Limiting State Pesticide Restrictions as Corporate Deception on Hazards Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2020) The toxic herbicide dicamba is once again at the center of a larger story about states’ authority to regulate pesticides more stringently federal dictates and a response to corporate corruption in the marketing of pesticide products. The Trump EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has just made it much harder for state regulations to be more protective than federal rules. It did so via a footnote embedded in dozens of pages of regulatory documents related to EPA’s registration of three new dicamba products.  Tell the Biden transition team that EPA must respect states’ rights to protect people and property in their states. Meanwhile, a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Monsanto and BASF, a German chemical company that worked with Monsanto to launch the system coupling dicamba with resistant crops, knew their dicamba herbicides would cause large-scale damage to fields across the U.S., but decided to push them on unsuspecting farmers anyway, in a bid to corner the soybean and cotton markets with their dicamba-resistant seeds. For nearly 30 years, state regulators have used Section 24 (“Special Local Needs” section) of FIFRA, the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act—the law that gives EPA […]

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13
Nov

EPA by Fiat Overturns State Authority to Restrict Pesticides in the Face of Its Faltering Programs

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2020) The toxic herbicide dicamba is once again at the center of a larger story about states’ authority to regulate pesticides beyond federal dictates. The Trump EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has just made it much harder for state regulations to be more protective than federal rules are. It did so via a footnote embedded in dozens of pages of regulatory documents related to EPA’s registration of three new dicamba products. Given conservatives’ long-standing lip service to “states’ rights,” this EPA’s thwarting of the wishes of individual states to respond to their respective circumstances could easily be regarded as an odd — though, during this administration, hardly singular — stance. This latest development underscores EPA’s continuing failures to protect people and the environment, and the increasing tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation, whether by states or smaller localities. For nearly 30 years, state regulators have used a Section 24 provision of FIFRA, the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act — the law that gives EPA authority to regulate pesticides — to establish specific restrictions, on use of federally registered pesticide products, that go beyond what EPA has mandated. The agency has long allowed states to add […]

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08
May

Proposed Legislation To Allow Massachusetts to Blanket State with Mosquito Pesticides that Attack the Immune and Respiratory Systems, During a Pandemic that Attacks the Same Systems

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2020) At the height of Covid-19 impacts in the Northeast U.S., Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito (R) filed emergency legislation at the Boston State House that would, according to their April 16 press release, “help the Commonwealth more effectively combat diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, including arboviruses like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV), by authorizing a coordinated, proactive, statewide approach to mosquito control activities.” Protecting the public from such diseases is an important public health mission. However, the Governor’s bill, H.4650, represents an alarming “over-reach” that would give unitary authority to the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB) to conduct mosquito control activities, including ineffective and toxic spraying, with virtually no effective oversight or transparency. Beyond Pesticides opposes this bill, whose passage would enable use of pesticides that can have respiratory and immune impacts — increasing health risks for everyone, but especially for the many people already at higher risk from Covid-19, despite the availability of ecological management approaches that eliminate the need for toxic chemicals. H.4650, An Act to mitigate arbovirus in the Commonwealth — was promulgated in response to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health […]

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21
Feb

Minnesota Introduces Bee-Friendly Pesticide Legislation and Fights for Local Rights

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2020) Last week in Minnesota, state Representative Jean Wagenius introduced measure H.F. 1255 that would give cities the opportunity to ban local use of bee-lethal pesticides. This is the latest in a series of attempts to fight state pesticide preemption, an industry-promoted law that prevents localities from restricting pesticide use more stringently than the state. In the face of inaction at the federal and state levels, advocates and legislators in Minnesota are attempting to regain local control to help save their declining, Midwestern pollinators. Representative Wagenius says about the measure, “Minnesotans should be able to protect pollinators if they want to. We value local control in this state, and we always have.” H.F. 1255 will allow cities to opt into a blanket ban of pesticides determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be hazardous to bees. Pesticides with an EPA bee-advisory box are listed on the state’s Department of Agriculture website and referred to as “bee-lethal” by Minnesota legislators. Patrick Hanlon, director of environmental programs for the city of Minneapolis, says cities would work with Department of Agriculture, businesses, and residents that might be impacted by these restrictions before enacting the bill. Local advocates have […]

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04
Oct

Court Strikes Down Aerial Pesticide Spray Ban in Lincoln County, Oregon — Challenging Local Rights to Protect Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2019) A Circuit Court judge in Lincoln County, Oregon has overturned a hard-won ban on aerial spraying of pesticides, citing preemption of state law over any local ordinance. In her late-September decision, Judge Sheryl Bachart wrote that Oregon’s Pesticide Control Act “expressly and conclusively displaces any local ordinance regarding pesticide use. The intention of the legislature is apparent and unambiguous.” She noted in her opinion that the Oregon Revised Statutes (the codified laws of the state of Oregon), Chapter 634.057 “prohibits local governments from making any ordinance, rule or regulation governing pesticide sale or use.” Voters in the county approved the subject ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides (Measure 21-177) in 2017, the initiative having been spurred by the work of Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR), a grassroots organization that “seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety.” In its advocacy for the initiative, the group cited both the harm done by aerial pesticide spraying to people and ecosystems, and the injustice of laws — often drafted by corporations for approval […]

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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’s 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’s challenge to a lower court ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals has made official Montgomery County’s 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits toxic pesticides from being used on public and private property for cosmetic purposes. “This 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,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of the organization Beyond Pesticides. “The 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.” 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’ 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, “This 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.” 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 – 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 – 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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