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If you are interested in getting involved in MOFGA's Public Policy Committee work, please contact Heather Spalding, MOFGA's Deputy Director, by email at heathers@mofga.org or by phone at 207-568-4142.


  You are here:  ProgramsPublic Policy InitiativesPesticides ActionCurrent Pesticide Legislation In Maine   
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Maine Legislature Repeals State's Pesticide Spray Notification Registry

(updated June 1, 2011)

The Maine House of Representatives had a chance to save the State's Aerial and Air Carrier Pesticide Spray Notification Registry today by adopting an amendment to LD 228, prepared by Representative Jim Dill (D - Old Town). But, in a 73 - 75 vote, members prevented the amendment from even coming to the floor of the House for discussion, and proceeded to pass LD 228, which abolishes the Registry, by a (79 - 69 vote).
Senator Elizabeth Schneider (D - Orono) had offered an identical amendment in the Senate a week earlier, but it was rejected. See how your representative voted. Please thank the representatives who voted against LD 228!

The Registry will remain in effect until 90 days after Governor LePage signs LD 228 into law. So, around the end of August or the begining of September, pesticide applicators using aerial or air carrier technologies will no longer have to consult the Registry. Residents and property owners wishing to be notified will either have to pay to be notified or confront pesticide sprayers directly depending on the population density of the area being sprayed. This will take Maine backward to a very confusing, and disparate set of notification systems that minimize the responsibility of land managers who spray, rather than maximizing and facilitating the public's right to know.

The Maine Legislature, at the behest of the pesticides industry, has suppressed our access to information about nearby pesticide spraying.

The Dill/Schneider amendment, would have saved the registry, protected the integrity of the registry by ensuring that registrants really intended to be there, reduced the notification distances for different application technologies, and given Maine's Board of Pesticides Control two more years to work out the kinks in an internet-based geographic information/notification system.

Reportedly, the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF), has drafted a letter to Maine's Board of Pesticides Control (BPC), encouraging the BPC to hold onto the Registry and work with the ACF during the next legislative session to create a new registry system.

If you want to talk to your legislators directly, you can find their contact information here:
www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm. You can also call 800-301-3178.

Thank you to all of you who contacted your legislators and encouraged them to protect our access to information about pesticide spraying in our communities.
MOFGA will continue to monitor this debate and other pesticide related legislation and rulemaking, and we will keep you informed about developments.

If you have questions, please contact Heather Spalding, MOFGA's Associate Director, at 207-568-4142 or
heathers@mofga.org.
  

 Status of 2011 Pesticide Bills Minimize

Here is a little more information about the various pesticides bills from this session, and what has happened with them so far:
  • LD 16 - An Act To Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticides Applications Using Aircraft or Air-carrier Equipment. Sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Timberlake (R – Turner) (Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry). This bill sought to change the notification criteria regarding the application of pesticides by aircraft or air-carrier equipment to a person on a notification registry from 1,320 feet to 100 feet. It also sought to change the distance requiring notification when pesticides are sprayed into the crowns of fruit trees or Christmas trees using air-carrier equipment from 500 feet to 50 feet. It would have been a significant rollback to the progress made with Maine’s Aerial and Air-carrier Pesticide Spray Notification Registry, which sets notification distances at 1,320 feet for aerial spraying and 500 feet for air-carrier spraying. The ACF voted unanimously that the bill ought not to pass, so it is done. MOFGA also opposed this bill. Bill details.
  • LD 228 - An Act To Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticide Application. Sponsored by Representative Peter Edgecomb (R – Caribou) (Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry). This bill seeks to repeal Maine's pesticide spray notification registry for aerial and air-carrier applications. Without this registry, residents and property owners wishing to be notified would either have to pay to be notified or confront pesticide sprayers directly depending on the population density of the area being sprayed. This would take Maine backward to a very confusing, and disparate set of notification systems that minimize the responsibility of land managers who spray, rather than maximizing and facilitating the public's right to know. This would significantly limit the notification rights of Maine citizens, including almost 2,000 registrants on the notification registry. Bill details. Representative Dill and Senator Schneider have an amendment that could save the registry. MOFGA supports the amendment. MOFGA opposes the bill in its original form. Stay tuned.
  • LD 1041 - An Act To Simplify and Enhance Pest Control Notification. Sponsored by Representative Dean Cray (R – Palmyra) (Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry). This bill was created to streamline the disparate and confusing systems for outdoor pesticide spray notification by creating one registry with parameters and protocols based on spray technologies. Despite an excellent presentation from the Board of Pesticides Control showing that land managers can use an online geographic information system to identify and notify registrants instantly, the majority of the ACF, including Representative Cray who sponsored the legislation, voted that this bill "ought not to pass". For a few days, a troubling and confusing set of unnecessary amendments was in play as a minority report. However, that was reconsidered and voted "ought not to pass" as well. Like LD 16, LD 1041 is done. MOFGA originally supported this bill but then opposed it due to drastic rollbacks in the proposed amendments. Bill details.
Other pesticide bills reviewed by the ACF present serious concerns as well.
  • LD 837 - An Act To Protect Children's Health and Promote Safe Schools and Child Care Centers by Limiting the Use of Pesticides. Sponsored by Representative Mary Nelson (D – Falmouth). This bill would require that the use of pesticides on school grounds is restricted to situations that pose a health threat to a student or staff member and when the presence of animals or insects have been identified as a public health nuisance. It would require the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to adopt rules to provide similar restrictions on the use of pesticides on the grounds of child care facilities and nursery schools. The majority of the ACF hijacked the bill, and  changed it into a resolve to promote integrated pest management on school grounds, rather than prohibit cosmetic use of pesticides. The amended version of the bill prevailed in the House of Representatives. MOFGA supported the minority report (original text) of the bill, NOT the amended report that prevailed. Bill details.
  • LD 321 - An Act To Change the Qualifications of Certain Members of the Board of Pesticides Control. Sponsored by Representative Peter Edgecomb (R - Caribou) (Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry). This bill would eliminate the two environmental expertise seats from the Board of Pesticides Control. The ACF voted that this bill ought to pass. MOFGA opposes this bill. Bill details.
Ironically, the only bill with little controversy around it amounts to an additional regulation for all people who use pesticides on fruits and vegetables and make $1000 or more dollars a year.
    • LD 975 - An Act To Require Certification of Private Applicators of General Use Pesticides. Sponsored by Representative Jim Dill (D – Old Town) (Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry). This bill would require certification of private applicators using general use pesticides in the commercial production of food intended for human consumption.The ACF voted unanimously that this bill ought to pass. The House has passed this bill and it is likely to pass with unanimous support in the Senate.. MOFGA supports this bill. Bill details.
It is very important for members of the ACF and Maine legislators in general to hear from constituents who want strong protections from pesticides exposure.

    

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