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DC Panel Recommends Pesticide Ban, Asks for Support

Quietly, methodically, District of Columbia councilmember Mary Cheh, did her homework and concluded that pesticides used to kill dandelions and other weeds have no place on public spaces where children and pets play. After input from SafeLawns, Beyond Pesticides, the Pesticide Action Network among others, her committee has now unanimously voted to recommend passage of the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012.”

It’s a bill of rich symbolic hope for SafeLawns and the anti-pesticide movement; having the nation’s capitol city ban these toxic substances would go a long way toward having other cities take note.

With that vote earlier this month, however, has come a renewed forcefulness of the opposition from the synthetic chemical pesticide industry.

To show your support for the bill in DC, we ask you to sign on to the letter, below, by emailing Chris Weiss of the DC Environmental Network at TODAY IF POSSIBLE. Chris will also forward a full copy of the legislation at your request.

June 26, 2012

Chairman Phil Mendelson
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20004

RE: Environmental Support for Bill 19-643, the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012”

Dear Chairman Mendelson:

We are writing you today to express our strong support for Bill 19-643, the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012.”

On June 13, 2012, the Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation convened a mark-up on Bill 19-643, the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012.” Present and voting were Chairperson Mary M. Cheh, Councilmember Jim Graham, Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, and Yvette Alexander.

Committee members voted unanimously to support adopting controls to protect District children (and all residents) from dangerous pesticides on city-owned property.

“The legislation would further restrict the application of pesticides near waterways, at schools, at day care centers, and on District Property, establish publicly available courses on pesticides at the University of the District of Columbia, require an annual report on pesticide usage, require pesticide applicators to submit usage data, increase the pesticide product registration fee, amend the Pesticides Operations Act of 1977 to increase penalties, create a designation for registered technicians, and establish advance notification requirements, and to amend the Human and Environmental Health Amendment Act of 2010 to allow the Mayor to issue rules permitting limited exemptions.” – Committee Report on Bill 19-643, the “Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act of 2012”

These controls, exclusively for city-owned property, were the product of extensive consultation with industry, District agencies and environmental organizations with expertise on similar initiatives that experienced success in New York, Connecticut, California and other jurisdictions across the country.

Some of the experts who helped craft and/or commented on this important bill included Dr. Jerome Paulson of the Children’s National Medical Center, Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides, Dr. Jennifer Sass of the Natural Resources Defense Council (and Paul Tukey of the SafeLawns Foundation).

We urge the full Council, to join other communities across the country, and quickly pass this important bill and send it to Mayor Gray for implementation.


Chris Weiss, DC Environmental Network

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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