Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5121

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF ORGANIC PESTICIDES ON SCHOOL PROPERTY AND AUTHORIZING MUNICIPAL REGULATION OF THE USE OF PESTICIDES ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY.

Vote Date:

3/21/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/16/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment and Human Health, Inc.

Rep. Richard Roy

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill is a response to the realization of the dangers of pesticides and the need to limit their impact on people and the environment. One example of this is the banning of their use on school grounds. Furthermore, many municipalities in the state feel the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has not been aggressive enough in instituting a statewide pesticide policy. They wish to have this authority transferred to each individual township who would then institute their own program.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

In line 23, the words “residential property” are struck and replaced with “lawn”. This is because many municipalities did not want jurisdiction over residential pesticides, just lawn care.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Anthony J. Daros, First Selectman, Town of Branford:

Mr. Daros supports the bill but wants section 3 amended to say “lawn,” not “residential property.” He feels the preemption law in Connecticut is wrong since it prevents townships from having stricter pesticide regulations then the state. Mr. Daros reasons each local township is best suited to determine which lawn-care method is best suited to their individual community.

Kim O'Rourke, Recycling Coordinator, City of Middletown:

Ms. O'Rourke feels the preemption language should be removed and each individual community should be free to implement their own pesticide policy. She states Middletown has developed Project Green Lawn, which encourages residents and businesses to maintain their lawns free of harmful chemicals. Ms. O'Rourke acknowledges Middletown considers the “downstream” effects of pesticides since the city sits on the Connecticut River and two of its tributaries which could negatively affect other communities and the Long Island Sound.

Rebecca MacLachlan:

Ms. MacLachlan is from Middletown and states Mayor Daniel Drew is in support of eliminating the pesticide preemption. She believes each township has the right to protect themselves and their drinking water from pesticide contamination. Ms. MacLachlan further asserts the chemical companies are dictating policy and it is the towns which should have this right.

Russell J. Dirienzo, P.G., LEP, Selectman and Chairman of the Inland Wetlands Commission, Town of Roxbury:

Mr. Dirienzo feels each town should have the right to regulate pesticide since they know the local community and which pesticides would be best for the township. He also emphasizes Roxbury relies on wells for its drinking water and the town should have the ability to regulate pesticide to prevent contamination.

Jerome A. Silbert, M.D., Executive Director, The Watershed Partnership:

Mr. Silbert states he has studied pesticides for 15 years and believes they are harmful to humans and children are particularly sensitive to them. He feels the pesticide companies have forced the chemicals onto the public in order to make a profit and governments have just accepted their data. Mr. Silbert thinks the power to regulate should rest with local government.

Louis W. Burch, Connecticut Program Coordinator, Citizens Campaign for the Environment:

Mr. Burch and his organization feel regulation of pesticide should be given to the local municipalities. He contends the preemption law runs counter to the states efforts to protect the environment. Mr. Burch states Connecticut currently bans pesticide use on K-8 playing fields but groundskeepers cannot use natural remedies to eliminate pests and this could be rectified if local authorities could regulate pesticide.

Connecticut League of Conservation Voters:

The league supports the bill since it will allow local municipalities to decide if they want stricter (but not less strict) pesticide regulations then the state.

Eileen Fielding, Executive Director, Farmington River Watershed Association:

Ms. Fielding and the association feel local municipalities are better able to decide how to regulate pesticides. She argues local residents know the area better and can formulate an appropriate plan for their community.

Mike Freda, First Selectman, Town of North Haven:

Mr. Freda feels it is appropriate for each local township to regulate pesticide. He maintains each town should have this right as long as the regulations are stricter then the state.

Margaret Miner, Executive Director, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut:

Ms. Miner and the alliance contend the DEEP does not have the resources to adequately regulate pesticides within the state. She affirms the evidence shows pesticides are in the water table and do have a detrimental effect on people and wildlife. Ms. Miner contends although there are state and federal regulations, they are difficult to enforce from a distance.

Dan Brown:

Mr. Brown supports the bill but wants the phrase “residential property” replaced with “lawn.” He believes pesticides are dangerous to the public (and especially children) and feels towns should have the right to regulate them.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Bart Russell, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns:

Mr. Russell and the council are concerned that although the bill allows certain pesticides to be banned, it does not take into account the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans. The IPM plans allow a township flexibility in developing plans to deal with pest and contend the bill does not allow towns to use IPMs.

Bob Heffernan, Executive Director, Connecticut Green Industries Council:

Mr. Heffernan and the council oppose the bill due to the difficulty of all 169 towns in the state regulating pesticide. They contend the towns do not have the scientific expertise too properly regulate pesticide. There is also the possibility municipalities could be exposed to liability since it is usurping federal and state authority.

Edward Golinowski, President, Connecticut Environmental Council:

Mr. Golinowski states the banning of pesticides on school grounds has resulted in IPMs becoming difficult to implement, causing playing fields to deteriorate and cases of illnesses such as Lyme disease have increased. The council believes if Connecticut were to do away with the preemption law, this would cause a “nightmare” of different regulations within the state, forcing regulators and businesses to learn a different bylaw for each town. Finally, Mr. Golinowski asserts local townships do not have the resources of a state agency like DEEP in order to correctly regulate pesticide.

Connecticut Light and Power Company and the Yankee Gas Services Company:

These utilities believe local municipalities do not have the resources or expertise to regulate pesticides and this authority should remain with DEEP. They also feel most towns cannot regulate pesticides and will be in violation of the Federal Insecticide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and will have no choice but to ban pesticides. Connecticut Light and Power is also concerned that they have purchased the rights to use pesticides to clear state and rail systems in the state. By allowing each municipality to regulate pesticide, the utility will have to come to a separate agreement with each township.

Heather Millette, President, Connecticut Pest Control Association, Inc.:

Ms. Millette contends by allowing each town to regulate pesticide, the result would be “nightmare” scenarios where each town would have a different regulation. This would result in an awkward process where applicators would have to learn a different regulation for each municipality. He also expresses his fear that municipalities do not have the resources to regulate pesticides while DEEP does.

James O'Connor, Principal, Mary R. Tisko Elementary School, Branford, CT:

Principal O'Connor is opposed to the bill, noting the difficulty schools have had in maintaining fields since pesticides were banned. He contends the current bill does not take into account IPMs, which are effective in controlling pests. Principal O'Connor states that since the pesticide ban took effect on July 2010, his school has seen the number of pests on school property rise dramatically.

Kachina Walsh-Weaver, Senior Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM):

Ms. Walsh-Waver and CCM believe local municipalities do not have the resources to regulate pesticides when compared to the state and federal levels. CCM notes local governments are already dealing with budget shortages and do not need another financial strain on their budgets. CCM feels instead local governments should be permitted to once again implement IPM plans to deal with pest control.

Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association:

Mr. Talmage argues pesticides are already regulated by DEEP and the EPA and local municipalities do not have the research and scientific data to regulate them.

Scott Ramsay, Legislative Chair, Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents:

Mr. Ramsay states pesticides are currently regulated by both the EPA and DEEP, each of whom have the resources to do so. He feels the townships do not have the same capabilities and although the regulation process can be slow, it does work. Mr. Ramsay also contends most states have preemption laws regulating pesticides.

Richard J. Calarco, President, Connecticut Park Association:

Mr. Calarco and the association believe pesticide management should be left under the control of DEEP with attention made to IPM programs.

Paul J. Roche, Legislative Committee Chair, Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association:

Mr. Roche and the association feel DEEP is the appropriate agency to regulate pesticides.

Brian Patrick Herrington, Government Relations Manager, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company:

Mr. Herrington is concern over the possible “balkanization” of pesticide regulations in Connecticut if each town is allowed to create their own codes. This would lead to 169 different regulations with each township being unique. Applicators would in turn have to learn each regulation in order to do business in the municipality. Additionally, Mr. Herrington is concern for retailers, particularly those who have operations in multiple townships. Finally, he believes the bill would create a flawed system since it only removes the preemption for residential use, not lawn service. This would create a system which is not uniformed and confusing for retailers, applicators, customers, and manufacturers.

Reported by: Edward Schaeffer

Date: 3/26/12