At its July meeting, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) voted to approve registration applications for seven genetically-engineered (GE) Bt field corn products, and it directed BPC staff to draft a rule addressing concerns about insect resistance and pollen drift associated with Bt corn. At the September and October meetings, the staff presented that language, and at the October meeting, the BPC decided to proceed with rulemaking.
The proposed rule requires anyone purchasing Bt corn seed to hold a pesticide applicator’s license and a product-specific training certificate demonstrating attendance at a BPC-approved training session on the use of GE Bt corn. Growers must also maintain detailed records on use of the product, including site and planting information. Growers must map crops susceptible to cross-pollination within 500 feet, but no buffer requirements are included in the proposed rule yet.
The proposed rule requires anyone selling Bt corn seed products to hold a general use pesticide dealer’s license and to notify the BPC of his or her intent to distribute plant-incorporated protectant products. The seller must verify that the customer holds a valid license and product specific training certificate. The seller must maintain records of plant-incorporated product sales, including the customer’s pesticide applicator license number.
For more on the Bt corn vote, see the “Organic Matter” section of the Winter 07-08 MOF&G. The Board was to accept comment at a Public Hearing on November 16 on this and the following two proposed rules.
Indoor Pesticide Application Notification
On January 1, 2007, the new rule, “Standards for Indoor Pesticide Applications and Notification for All Occupied Buildings Except K–12 Schools” (Chapter 26), became effective. Since the rule was adopted, pest management professionals have alerted the BPC that advance notice requirements are creating unreasonable hardships for applicators and customers. The BPC has since drafted amendments to this rule that would allow exemption from notification for crack and crevice treatments in locations that are not readily accessible to people and when they are made in a way that minimizes airborne particles.
The rule has also been modified to allow the notification posting to be made by someone other than an employee of the pest management company, and responsibility for posting falls on the person who makes the posting.
Buffer Zones to Protect Water
The BPC has developed language that would require a 25-foot buffer between certain defined waters and the application of terrestrial pesticides (except those used to control human diseases). Waterways included are: any lake or pond except those contained completely within an individual’s private property; rivers; any stream depicted as a solid or broken blue line on a USGS 7.5 minute topographic map; estuarine and marine waters as defined under 38 MRSA; and wetlands that are connected to great ponds at any time of the year or that contain visible surface water or are dominated by emergent or aquatic plants.
Aerial Spray/Pesticide Drift
A Stakeholders’ Committee on aerial pesticide application issues met several times in the spring and summer of 2007 and concluded its work with recommendations for BPC consideration. The BPC reviewed the report and directed the staff to begin framing regulatory language covering notification, drift management plans and verification of the correct site. The BPC will continue to discuss these and other aerial pesticide application issues to determine appropriate regulation.
The BPC has approved Best Management Practices for the Application of Turf Pesticides and Fertilizers; see www.thinkfirstspraylast.org.
– Melissa White Pillsbury