For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Contact: Alex Zeineddin | firstname.lastname@example.org| 202-360-7166
Maryland Court of Appeals denies pesticide industry and chemical lawn companies petition, upholds Montgomery County’s Law stopping pesticides on lawns
Safe Grow Montgomery and our more than 50 business and non-profit partners are elated that the Maryland Court of Appeals denied on Friday July 12th, 2019, the Plaintiff petition to review Montgomery County’s Healthy Lawns Act 52-14. The law restricts the application of certain pesticides to lawns for cosmetic purposes.
This ruling from Maryland’s highest court is a major victory for residents and local jurisdictions. It upholds the lower appeals court finding that Montgomery County was not impliedly preempted from regulating pesticides on private property. This means then that Montgomery County is able to fully implement the law that thousands of residents had expressed support for.
Commonly referred to as the “Healthy Lawns Act” this law prohibits the use of harmful pesticides (including weed killers) on Montgomery County private and county-owned lawns.
“This final ruling affirms the local democratic right of Montgomery County residents to protect the health of our communities from harmful lawn pesticide exposures, especially for our kids and pets,” says Julie Tadeo of Safe Grow Montgomery. “We are excited to have now Montgomery County implement Healthy Lawns Act on both private and public property.”
The Montgomery County Council passed an amended Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14 in a 6-3 vote on October 6th, 2015. Montgomery County, Maryland has more than 1 million residents and is the first county and largest jurisdiction in the
nation to restrict the non-essential use of harmful pesticides and herbicides on County-owned property and playgrounds, and private lawn areas.
The Montgomery County Council recognized the need to act where Federal regulation has failed to fully protect human and environmental health. The law is now in effect. The health of the county’s residents, the local water, soil and air quality, and pollinators will be protected from non-essential use of harmful lawn pesticides, herbicides. Children, people with health vulnerabilities – such as asthma, chemical sensitivities, and cancer – and pets are especially affected by the wide-spread use and unavoidable exposure to lawn pesticides, including herbicides.
The Maryland Association of Counties states that, “While the Court of Appeals’ decision makes further judicial challenges under implied preemption unlikely, it is possibly that the plaintiffs will seek legislation to expressly preempt local governments during the 2020 Session.”
The environmental law firm, Nidel and Nace PLLC, assisted the ten organizations which joined to file amicus briefs in support of the county’s position of non-preemption, including: Safe Grow Montgomery, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Food and Water Watch, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Maryland PIRG Foundation, Organic Consumers Association, and U.S. PIRG.
Maryland Court of Appeals Denial of Petition for Writ of Certiorari (without comment):
Montgomery County v. Complete Lawn Care Case (Maryland Court of Special Appeals, 2019):
The Montgomery County lawn pesticide law:
Media contact: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin, email@example.com
T. 202 360-7166