Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maine BPC Spray Notification Registry Up and Running

Maine BPC Reports \ BPC October 2009

Pesticide Spray Registry

At its October meeting the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) held a public hearing to gather comments about its approach to rulemaking on LD 1293, An Act to Require Citizen Notification of Pesticide Applications Using Aerial Spray or Air-Carrier Application Equipment. The BPC determined that some changes to Chapter 28 should be made to clarify and adapt to provisions required by LD 1293.

Growers and industry representatives who oppose LD 1293, but not necessarily the actions of the board, provided much of the testimony at the meeting. In many cases the comments were not pertinent to the goals of the public hearing but did give people an outlet to express their frustrations with the legislation. Many – especially those who operate in densely populated parts of Maine – noted the complexity and administrative burden that LD 1293 will place on them. This includes people in the pest control industry who spray for mosquitoes in urban areas. Board members responded that since the legislation is already written and has become law, it is not their job to change what is in place but to try to cover its responsibilities as required by the law and to make the requirements easiest for everyone involved.

All attendees agreed that the legislation is unclear in spots and parts of the rule need to be simplified. For example, who should be notified in new construction situations, large apartment buildings or complexes, campgrounds or schools within 1/4 mile of spray operations? Heather Spalding, MOFGA’s associate director, offered to work with growers and with Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham), who sponsored LD 1293, to propose changes that would clarify and simplify the legislation.

Another issue that warrants further discussion is the way the legislation relates to Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Growers use IPM to minimize the need for pesticides by considering several factors and spraying only when it is most advantageous or necessary. Some growers believe that provisions of LD 1293 will make them miss brief opportunities that arise for spraying, or that they will risk being in non-compliance with notification requirements. This is another area where more work and cooperation among stakeholders will be needed.

Board member Curtis Bohlen summed up the BPC’s long-term, extensive conversation about notification in general by noting that neighbors just don’t know neighbors anymore. Growers should be able to notify neighbors about spraying in a positive way, and those working on LD 1293 and Chapter 28 will strive to ensure this.

The registry that the BPC created as a result of LD 1293 is up and running. This free registry is for people who wish to be notified about pesticides applied by aerial or air-carrier equipment near their homes. The sign-up deadline is March 15, 2010, for the next growing season. To sign up, visit or call the BPC at 207-287-2731.

Pesticide Application Rule Violations

C&D Corporation of Deblois was fined $1,000 for applying herbicide on property belonging to another landowner. This violation occurred after the person applying the herbicide for C&D Corporation was given insufficient instructions on the boundary line of the property and continued his application onto the neighboring property. The owner of the adjacent property discovered the error as he began to treat his own field. He reported the violation to the BPC.

Pesticide Registrations

At its October meeting the BPC approved a Special Local Need (SLN) registration for Ethrel® Brand Ethephon Plant Regulator on greenhouse tomatoes at Backyard Farms in Madison. The board approved the same registration last January, but later withdrew it after EPA revoked all ethephon SLN registrations because worker safety and crop residues had not been fully reviewed. EPA has since completed the review and approved ethephon SLN registrations.

– Katy Green