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New Surcharge for Specialty Fertilizer

Legislation

Beginning July 1, Maryland will apply a surcharge of $2 per ton of specialty fertilizer distributed in the state.

| February 10, 2009

Beginning July 1, Maryland will apply a surcharge of $2 per ton of specialty fertilizer distributed in the state.

The bill, House Bill 136, is sponsored by Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk. Revenue generated from the surcharge will be allocated to the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund. Commercial fertilizer used for research and experimental purposes are exempt from the surcharge.

In 2006, the Chesapeake Executive Council signed a memorandum of understanding with members of the lawn care product manufacturing industry. The memorandum includes a commitment to achieve a 50 percent reduction from 2006 levels in the pounds of phosphorus applied from lawn care products in the Chesapeake Bay. Members of the Chesapeake Executive Council include the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the mayor of the District of Columbia; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator; the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and representatives from Delaware and West Virginia.

Florida and Minnesota already have adopted requirements aimed at reducing the impact fertilizers have on water quality. Effective July 1, Florida will limit fertilizer products labeled for specified uses of "low phosphate" or "no phosphate" fertilizers and will require labels pertaining to application rates.

Minnesota prohibits the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizers, except in certain instances such as when new turf is being established or when a soil or tissue test shows a need for phosphorus fertilization. A 2007 report by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture estimated that in 2006 the use of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus had decreased by 48 percent since the law took effect.

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