Maine Bill Would Outlaw Local Pesticide Laws
In summary, LD 1505 would prohibit a municipality from "adopting or continuing to enforce any ordinance or rule regarding the sale or use of pesticides." The legislation would affect the regulations of 27 Maine municipalities.
The Forecaster's Marian McCue reported that LD 1505 is similar to model legislation proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the notorious and powerful conservative lobbying group.
McCue noted that a rep for the DC-based pesticide lobbying group, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, spoke in favor of the bill at a hearing on Monday.
Other supporters of the bill include businesses such as tree services and pest management companies who say the various local laws make it difficult to do business. According to the Press Herald, Walt Whitcomb, the commissioner of Conservation, Forestry and Agriculture, argued that local pesticide regulations were a confusing "patchwork" of controls. He added that many measures were more strict than state and federal laws and applied to products deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
But Mary Ann Nahf, who chairs the Conservation Commission for the coastal town of Harpswell, contended that the pesticide ordinances were designed for a community's specific needs. She described how local lobstermen prompted the town's ban on an insect growth regulator because it also turned out to be harmful and even deadly to lobsters. Nahf pointed out that the town's ban ultimately led the whole state to tighten its regulations of the chemical near the ocean.
Maine is one of only seven states that allows its municipalities to adopt pesticide standards stricter than the state. None of the 27 municipalities have an outright ban on pesticide use and some areas, like Harpswell, have waivers for pesticide use.
Opponents of LD 1505 stressed that local pesticide bans are necessary to protect human health and the environment.
"These bills have been handcrafted by big business to weaken—among other policies—state and local environmental laws that states have fought for and enacted over decades," Sarah Lakeman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said.
Heather Spaulding of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association had similar words.
"LD 1505 is the latest in a pesticides industry-backed campaign to keep the public in the dark about agrichemicals," Spaulding said, adding that Maine has no "meaningful statewide pesticide spray buffer zones to protect communities from pesticide drift," and local ordinances fit the needs of their communities.
The State and Local Government Committee has scheduled a work session for the bill next week.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.
A coalition of conservation groups and others announced Thursday that a historic number of comments and petitions of support have been submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of Bears Ears National Monument. Despite the entirely inadequate 15-day comment period ending on May 26, more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears National Monument have been collected.
By Lena Moffitt
An oil tanker in Mead, Colorado exploded, killing one and injuring three on Thursday. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.
In an unusual procedural move, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed motions Thursday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the Juliana v. US climate lawsuit, brought by 21 young people. The associations are following the lead of the National Association of Manufacturers, who filed a similar motion to withdraw on May 22.