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Maine Becomes Pesticide Hotbed

NBC News Segment Showcases Lawncare Issue

As reported here yesterday, an advertising campaign aimed at lawn fertilizer and pesticide reduction is getting a lot of attention in Maine. Today my partner on “Your Garden” segments for NBC for the past 12 years, Cindy Williams, reported on the pesticide debate — including hearings in the state capitol of Augusta about bills that would ban pesticides in certain situations.

As for that now infamous Rubber Ducky ad, we asked Maine Rep. Meredith Burgess (R-Cumberland) about whether or not she thought the commercial should be pulled. Rep. Burgess was in a unique position to comment — since her advertising agency was hired to produce the segment.

She emailed us today with this statement from the office of Maine Governor Paul LePage: “The Governor’s office has NO intention of pulling the advertisement from television. We are interested in connecting the (lawn care) industry with the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that the public message includes suggestions on appropriate steps homeowners can take to manage their lawns and grounds. The general lawn and garden tips included on the Think Blue Website are excellent and should be emphasized in the message. Please feel free to share this message with anyone who has questions about the advertising campaign.”

The state’s environmental coalition knows that getting these bills passed is highly unlikely in Maine during the LePage administration, but remains encouraged by the strong show of anti-pesticide support today.

“We had some excellent testimonies and were ending on a high note and then someone got up and started talking about how great DDT was and is,” said Marsha Smith of Camden, the first town in Maine to adopt a policy that prohibits lawn pesticides on public property. “We have several Republicans on our side and several people told me if the Commission does not say yes, we can take it to the floor ourselves.”

The issue, in other words, isn’t going away anytime soon.

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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