WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A resounding "no" from residents, homeowner associations, realtors, and local businesses did not deter the Montgomery County (Maryland) Council from passing Council President George Leventhal's pesticide ban, which will hurt homeowners, their families, businesses and hundreds of lawn care workers.
Bill 52-14, which passed 6-3, bans the use of products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on public and private property across the county, putting the locally owned businesses and jobs that make up the county's lawn care, plant health, and groundskeeper industries at significant risk.
The bill, considered one of the most restrictive in the country, takes away many common insect and weed control products frequently used and relied on by residents, such as weed-and-feed lawn products. It also takes away homeowners' options to treat trees for emerald ash borer, an invasive species that often results in cutting the trees down.
Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)®, worked with residents, local businesses, and professionals to create a shared solution with the council, and says the ban is bad policy and an unfortunate situation where political expediency trumps science and fact.
"Lawmakers have spent nearly two years on a bill that provides no benefit to the citizens of Montgomery County," said Reardon. "This bill is so extreme that it's unenforceable. It's also unnecessary. It puts the community's health and workers' livelihoods at risk. The council is going against federal and state regulatory guidance on what is safe and necessary for pest control, and also goes against the opinion of the National Cancer Institute, which says the scientific evidence to support such a ban is not conclusive."
The Montgomery County Latino community will be significantly impacted by the bill as the demographic makes up a large percentage of the county's lawn care workers. According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, about 35 percent of the workers in the lawn care industry are Latino but that in Maryland, the figure is more than double.
More than 600 letters in opposition to the bill were submitted to the council by residents and local businesses, and approximately 100 individuals opposing the bill attended the final vote on Tuesday morning.
Earlier this year, the Maryland Attorney General advised a general ban on pesticide application is likely preempted by state law. The bill can be vetoed by the county executive within 10 days of today's vote.
Located in Washington, D.C., RISE is the national association representing the manufacturers, formulators, distributors, and other industry leaders involved with pesticide and fertilizer products used in vector control, pest control, turf, ornamental, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, and other non-food/fiber applications. Learn more about RISE at www.debugthemyths.com.