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Local Pesticide Bans Face Political Opposition, Court Challenges

September 17, 2018


Tiffany Stecker,

September 13, 2018-

House lawmakers are seeking to halt a trend in communities—local ordinances to ban or restrict pesticides that opponents say conflict with state and federal laws. Local government officials—skeptical that state and federal pesticide regulations are sufficiently protective of public health—are passing ordinances restricting the spraying of bug- and weedkillers in parks, front lawns, and other public areas at the behest of community members. The issue has been litigated in courts and debated in state legislatures for decades.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have inserted language into the latest farm bill that would prevent local governments from enacting pesticides regulations. The House and Senate versions of the farm bill, which would authorize hundreds of billions of dollars for agriculture and nutrition programs, are being negotiated in a conference committee. Republican and Democratic lawmakers are far from a compromise. The pesticide pre-emption, called Section 9101, is just one part of the House version (H.R. 2) that Democrats don’t want to accept. Sixty local government officials sent a letter Sept. 13 to oppose the provision.

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