Maryland’s Montgomery County Council In early October passed a controversial measure that will ban the use of EPA-registered pesticides on private lawns, at childcare facilities and playgrounds. These pesticides include weed control products, insect and disease prevention and elimination. The bill makes Montgomery County Maryland the first large jurisdiction in the nation to pass a general ban on pesticide use, according to Council members. Only two other smaller jurisdictions—Ogunquit, Maine and Takoma Park—have passed similar laws.
The discussion revolved around an unsettled debate about the public health concerns surrounding many commonly used pesticides. Supporters of the bill said multiple scientific studies have linked certain pesticides to being possibly carcinogenic.
The bill prohibits individuals from applying EPA-registered pesticides to privately owned lawns beginning January 1, 2017 unless the products are being used to control noxious weeds or invasive species. The legislation would not apply to homeowner’s gardens, county-owned playing fields, farms, golf courses or on medians and islands in county-owned rights-of-way.
As part of a compromise, Council members Tuesday required the county’s parks department to pursue a pilot program to test organic lawn care methods on its playing fields, rather than outright banning the department from using pesticides. The bill requires the parks department to make an effort to stop using non-organic pesticides by 2020.
Key points of the Pesticide Ban
1) Requires the posting of notice when a property owner applies a pesticide to an area of lawn more than 100 square feet, consistent with the notice requirements for when a landscaping business treats a lawn with a pesticide;
2) Requires the County Executive to designate a list of”non-essential” pesticides
3) Generally prohibited the application of non-essential pesticides to lawns, with exceptions for noxious weed and invasive species control, agriculture and gardens, and golf courses;
4) Require the Executive to conduct a public outreach and education campaign before and during the implementation of the Bill
5) Generally prohibited the application of non-essential and neonicotinoid pesticides to County owned property
6) Does not apply to gardens or tree and shrub care
The best news is NuLeaf Lawn Care’s organic lawn programs comply 100% with Montgomery County new law and we don’t have to wait until 2017 to get started.
It took me a while to find the exact document the council had on hand during the hearing and subsequent vote but here it is all 100+ pages of it.