A state circuit court judge on August 3, 2017 overturned Montgomery County’s landmark bill restricting toxic pesticide use on private property. Help protect people, pets, and pollinators with your action!
The fight is far from over. We need you to urge the Council to file an appeal before the 30 day deadline is up on September 2nd.
By passing the Healthy Lawns Act, the Montgomery County Council acknowledged growing demand within the community for natural and organic lawn care practices and compatible products. These cost-effective lawn care methods have been shown to eliminate the need for toxic pesticide use through improvements in soil biology that support more resilient plants. But now, the court’s decision puts over one million residents at continued risk of hazardous pesticide exposure.
While this ruling doesn’t affect aspects of the Act that ban toxic pesticides used on county-owned public land, it does strike down key provisions that stop unnecessary pesticide use on private property. We know that when pesticides are used in the community, they drift and run-off the target site, polluting the entire community’s air, water, and soil. And, they are not needed for a beautiful lawn and landscape.
Health and environmental advocates indicate Judge McGann’s ruling ignores historical precedent set by Maryland counties in leading the way on health and environmental laws, including bans on plastic bags and coal-tar sealants. At times, the Judge’s written opinion is dismissive of the danger posed by pesticide use, including an aside opining “…why neighborhood children sell lemonade on the street corner and not pesticides.”
Over 150 communities in 23 states restrict chemical pesticide use, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies. Many local governments in Maryland and throughout the United States will be watching Montgomery County’s response.
Please help us send a message to the lead plaintiff, Complete Lawn Care, and Scotts, TruGreen and the lawn chemical industry that communities should be able to set higher standards to restrict toxic pesticide use, especially when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state are not providing adequate protection. Urge the County Council to continue to defend the Healthy Lawns Act by appealing the recent court decision by September 2nd!