Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Let Towns Keep the Right to Regulate Pesticides in Their Communities

Last year, pesticide manufacturers tried to undo local pesticide ordinances in Maine as part of 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 by changing federal regulations through the Farm Bill that is pending in Washington, D.C.

Taking the power to regulate the use of pesticides away from local communities was wrong then and it remains wrong now.

For nearly 30 years, towns have been able to regulate pesticide use and sales within their boundaries. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld this municipal right in 1990. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that communities can adopt stricter standards for pesticide use than federal or state regulations.

Last year, Gov. Paul LePage tried to undo these rulings to benefit the chemical industry.

The language in the governor’s bill was straightforward. It would have prohibited communities from adopting or continuing to enforce any ordinance or rule regarding the sale or use of pesticides.

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