Last week on a 9-0 vote, the City Council in Portland, Maine approved an ordinance that will prohibit the use of all synthetic pesticides on both public and private property beginning July 1, 2018. This ordinance follows a similar one passed in neighboring South Portland. For landscape professionals, this means that only products that are listed by the EPA as minimum risk and permitted by the USDA’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances can be used. Use of synthetic pesticides on golf courses that have attained sanctuary status through Audubon International, sports fields owned by the city, rights-of way maintained by the city as well as treatment for certain invasive insects of shade trees are still permitted.
NALP’s Director of State and Local Government Relations, Bob Mann, spoke with Lawn & Landscape Magazine in a podcast Wednesday that covered this issue along with other issues that will impact lawn and landscape professionals in the coming year. To listen to the podcast, click here.
Anti-pesticide activists targeted Maine due to the lack of pesticide preemption language in state law, as is the case in nearly every other state in the nation. Their strategy includes notching small victories like this and parlaying them into the appearance that there is grassroots support to repeal pesticide preemption in other states. A similar strategy was utilized to successfully ban pesticide use in Ontario, Canada.
What you can do: This happened in Maine, but activists will be bringing it to your doorstep. Don’t be complacent! Become involved in your local community, participate in your state associations. These anti-pesticide efforts cannot be defeated defensively – that’s what happened in Maine. We have to be proactive in getting the word out about the environmental benefits of our profession.