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State Pre-emption Pesticide Laws

In Canada, much of the nation has banned most of the common lawn and garden pesticides we still use here in the U.S. What most Americans don’t know is that banning pesticides at the town and city level is illegal in 41 of 50 states due to “state preemption laws” that were passed in 1991 — the same year Hudson, Quebec, became the first town in North America to ban pesticides (see www.pfzmedia.com). The lawn chemical companies saw what was happening in Hudson and basically said, “Holy S–t, we can’t let that happen here!” The chemical industry formed its own lobby group, known ironically as “the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE),” which spends its time tracking — and fighting — anti-pesticide legislation.

Towns can still pass pesticide bans on town-owned property, but few do. The average mayor and town manager doesn’t want to wind up fighting RISE and its polished lawyers and lobbyists.

Did your state cave to the pesticide lobbyists in 1991? The list, compiled by the group BeyondPesticides.org, is attached here: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets/Preemption%20Factsheet.pdf.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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  • Scott Morgan

    Hi Paul,

    This is a very disturbing and sad state of affairs. Thanks for the sobering but helpful link!

    Scott Morgan
    Fairport, NY

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