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Does Maine Governor Want to Kill Rubber Ducky Campaign?

Chemical Lawn Industry Complains About Fertilizer Reduction Campaign


I came right off the couch in excitement the first time I saw the video on my local NBC station. Produced by an alliance of 28 Maine towns and 16 environmental organizations — along with the state Board of Pesticides and Department of Environmental Protection — a well-filmed 30-second spot begins by stating: “a picture-perfect lawn may appear harmless, but the results can be a real horror show.”

The poignant segment, dubbed the Rubber Ducky Campaign by the Think Blue Maine Alliance, has been well received by the public according to members of the coalition — but clearly not by the lawn chemical industry and lawn care professionals who rely on chemicals. The phone has reportedly been ringing off the hook at Governor Paul LePage’s office, to the point where the infamous first-year leader has ordered a review of the state’s involvement in the ad.

Emails have been circulated Wednesday afternoon claiming the governor — who has alienated every environmental organization in the state since his inauguration in January — had ordered the campaign to be killed. That, however, would be an overreach of his authority, according to at least one state official.

“We are working on a report that justifies the state’s involvement in the creation of the campaign,” said Barb Welch, a representative of the Department of Environmental Protection. “The ad has come off one state web site, but the state would not have the authority to kill the campaign because the state does not unilaterally own it. The Think Blue Maine partnership owns it.”

Here is a YouTube link to the video, just in case LePage is successful in having the spot pulled off the state web site above:

Welch, from the Land & Water Bureau of Maine’s DEP, said that the intent of the ad is not to eliminate chemical fertilizers and weed killers, but to reduce their use.

“Nowhere in the ad does it say to get rid of fertilizers and pesticides entirely,” she said. “We are advocating for responsible use in order to protect our water resources.”

The ThinkBlueMaine partnership is comprised of the 28 regulated stormwater municipalities in Maine, along with Soil & Water Conservation Districts, State Planning Office, Maine DEP and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This is the second Rubber Ducky campaign; the first focused on storm water runoff:

NOTE: This issue will most assuredly be on the minds of state officials and environmentalists tomorrow when the legislature hears arguments for and against the Childs Safe Protection Act beginning at 1 p.m. Folks who hope to protect children from pesticides on schoolgrounds have been working tirelessly behind the scenes and have an impressive presentation prepared. For more information about tomorrow’s proceedings, drop me an email and I’ll put you in touch with the right people.

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.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Meredith Strang Burgess

    Hi Paul, Thanks for bringing this situation to my attention. My agency has been honored to work with the DEP on various creative projects for many years. I understand that this year’s commercial has achieved it’s objective to get consumers attention and then educate about the use of lawn chemicals leaching into our water. I wanted to let you and your readers know, that I met with Dan Demeritt, in the Governor’s Office, this morning and he assured me that Governor LePage was NOT going to pull the current Rubber Ducky TV Commercial. Phew!!
    Thank you!
    Meredith Strang Burgess

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  • Hank

    YES please keep me ( and all of us) informed about this issue and ANY attempt of “da Gov” to kill these ad’s. I would be willing to contribute to continue them in the print media as well as TV.


    • BootsMom

      Wow! What a great, thought provoking ad… it.

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