Montgomery County pesticide ban upheld by court ruling

Montgomery County pesticide ban upheld by court ruling

The law was overturned by a Montgomery County circuit court in 2017, but an appeals court has struck down that decision.


This story was originally posted by WAMU 88.5, American University Radio. For the whole story, click here.

Montgomery County’s 2015 ban on “cosmetic pesticides” for lawn care may finally be implemented. It would prohibit the use of certain chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other conditions. The law was overturned by a Montgomery County circuit court in 2017. Now, an appeals court has struck down that decision.

The legislation also cited concern over the effect of pesticides on waterways, as well as honeybees and other pollinators.

Many residents opposed the legislation, worrying about the effect it would have on the lushness of their lawns. The pesticide industry and landscaping industry weren’t happy either. Several Montgomery County residents filed suit against the county over the pesticide ban, along with several local lawn care companies.

RISE – a national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders – has since released a statement disagreeing with the decision. The press release states the court "failed to consider the strong opinion issued by the Circuit Court for Maryland in 2017, finding the county ban was illegal under existing state law and the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive pesticide regulatory program.

"We believe the county’s ban on consumer and professional pesticide use on private property is preempted by existing state law and we are disappointed with the decision of the Court of Special Appeals given the well-reasoned opinion of the lower court, which found the county’s ban to be preempted by existing state law," the release states. 

Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker, one of the sponsors of the ban, called the ruling “a huge victory for public health and the environment.”

“The great majority of objective scientific studies tell us that pesticides cause cancer, nervous system disorders, reproductive dysfunction, immune system disorders, and many other conditions,” says Hucker.