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Pesticide preemption bill introduced in Congress

April 4, 2022 -  By

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced legislation to prohibit local governments such as municipalities, townships or counties from banning or regulating the use of pesticides at levels that are more stringent than state and federal regulations.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) said this bill would fix a longstanding problem with federal pesticide law (FIFRA) that would prelude individual cities and towns from enacting pesticide regulations, leaving the federal government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the lead agencies in each state as co-regulators. This legislation would then treat the users of pesticides in the same way that FIFRA regulates the labeling of pesticide products.

Joining Davis in co-sponsoring this bill are representatives Rick Allen (GA-12), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Jim Baird (IN-4), Randy Feenstra (IA-4), Jake LaTurner (KS-2), Tracey Mann (KS-1), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-2), Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Austin Scott (GA-8), and David Valadao (CA-21). Talks continue with other House members to expand this coalition.

Presently, four states do not preempt local units of government from regulating pesticides — Alaska, Maine, Maryland and Nevada. Some state legislatures have proposed removing the preemption of these regulations.

“NALP joins the National Pest Management Association and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in supporting this bill that is so crucial to ensuring that science-based regulations are uniform across entire states,” NALP said in an email to its members. “Currently, forty-four states have some flavor of state preemption of pesticide regulations put into place in the wake of a Supreme Court decision in 1991 that stated that FIFRA, as written, did not preclude local regulation. Anti-pesticide groups have used the lack of state preemption in certain states to push for the prohibition of pesticide products at the local level. Passing this bill would prevent activists from rolling back preemption (Colorado) and would immediately preempt local bans in Montgomery County Maryland, and South Portland, Maine.”

NALP said this bill introduced is a good opportunity for its members to lobby for this to be included in the 2023 Farm Bill, which must be reauthorized by the end of 2023.

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