Chemical Lawn Care Industry Celebrates Republican Victories
Anticipating a legislative climate that will relax and even reduce restrictions on the applications of pesticides, members of the chemical lawn care industry were in a celebratory mood at the annual lawn care summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the past three days.
“The mid-term elections should be a boon for lawn care operators and pest management professionals across the country,” said a press release about the event generated by the trade journal Lawn & Landscape magazine: http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/ll-120310-lawn-care-summit.aspx.
The issue of local, state and federal regulations to protect the environment was the focal point of virtually the entire day Thursday, according to sources. Other talking points at the summit, sponsored by the National Pest Management Association, focused on how to convince consumers that products were safe.
Norm Goldenberg, the senior vice president of TruGreen, said he was thrilled that the GOP took control of the House of Representatives at the federal level, and also won control in many states that are considering restrictions of lawn and garden pesticides and fertilizers.
“As you know, that’s where the action is,” said Goldenberg, as quoted in Lawn & Landscape. “That’s where you’re going to stop a lot of local ordinances. That’s where you have to stop them. We have to sell the benefits (of our industries) better than we sell the benefits today.”
The key, according to leaders of this chemical summit, is to convince consumers and elected officials that weed ‘n feed and other similar products are both necessary and safe. Communication specialist Tim Maniscalo of Dow AgriSciences, the company that is suing Canada to overturn the pesticide bans in that nation, coached attendees on the proper catch phrases to defray inquiries about pesticide toxicity.
“He told people in the room to talk confidently and to never waiver in their communication that their products are safe,” according to a SafeLawns colleague who attended his talk. “I would say that fear of anti-pesticide legislation, and also fear of the customers’ changing perceptions, was overwhelmingly on the minds of the lawn care industry. But there were also lots of toasts at the bar about the Republican successes. The chemical industry is banking on Republican support to stop your (SafeLawns) movement in its tracks.”
Other focal points of the Atlanta summit included how to combat the LEEDs certification and EPA WaterSense program that are both aimed at reducing the size of lawns and the inputs required in maintenance. Stuart Cohen of Environmental and Turf Services, Inc. focused his talk on the EPA’s proposed regulatory changes in and around the Chesapeake Bay that will also likely impose limits on fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus.
“I think that, had it not been for the celebration of the Republican dominated elections, the mood in Atlanta would have been despondent,” said our colleague. “The chemical lawn care industry clearly knows it’s under attack from almost all directions. The Republicans are seen as the proverbial calvary coming over the hill.”