FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin
May 16, 2017
Pesticide Industry Lawsuit Against a Maryland Community Goes to Court tomorrow, May 17. Safe Grow Montgomery (SGM) joins in Amicus with physician, beekeeper, and public health groups
Safe Grow Montgomery (www.safegrowmontgomery.org), is one of nine organizations that filed an Amicus brief recently in support of Montgomery County’s landmark lawn pesticide ordinance, the Healthy Lawns Act (52-14). Whereas state and federal governments have failed to adequately do so, the county ordinance would protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of cosmetic (non-essential) lawn pesticide exposure. The ordinance restricts the use of harmful cosmetic lawn pesticides on both county-owned and private properties. The ordinance designates categories of safer products which are allowed.
The ordinance, supported by thousands of county residents, is being challenged in a lawsuit led by the pesticide industry lobbyist group, RISE. Over 85% of letters and petition signatures received by the Montgomery County Council were in support of the Healthy Lawns Act and the bill passed by a super majority of council votes, 6 to 3. The pesticide industry lead lawsuit challenges the county’s authority to make protective ordinances stronger than the state that would safeguard public health and the local environment from toxic pesticide exposure.
“At a time when EPA protections are being stripped and EPA positions are to be appointed to industry insiders, strongly defending our right and access to the local democratic process to protect our communities is ever more imperative,” says Julie Taddeo, a founding member of Safe Grow Montgomery and a concerned parent.
“Many neighborhoods unknowingly exist in an increasingly toxic stew of pesticides and chemicals. Maryland beekeepers are a bell-weather, with devastating spikes in bee hive losses in the 50% range, which correlate to the increase of pesticides used for lawn and gardens. Montgomery County’s responsible and legal action in 52-14 to protect its citizens, especially the most vulnerable—their children, people with health issues, pets, as well as our declining pollinators—is important, and should be upheld,” said Bonnie Raindrop, legislative chair for Central Maryland Beekeepers Association.
The outcome of the court case will ultimately affect ALL local jurisdictions in Maryland as to whether or not localities can seek jurisdiction-wide pesticide protections stronger than the state.
The groups filing the Amicus include Beyond Pesticides, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Food and Water Watch, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Maryland PIRG Foundation, Organic Consumers Association, and Safe Grow Montgomery.
The court hearing is scheduled for
Wednesday, May 17th at 9:30am, and is open to the public.
Location:Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Ave. North Tower, Courtroom: 8C