Did you know that the citizen's rights of your town, HOA, school districts, county, and state, regarding pesticide use, could disappear? We at Moms Across America often focus on awareness of the dangers of commercial pesticides, but if the upcoming Farm Bill gets signed into law, all the awareness in the world can’t stop the spraying in your local parks, schoolyards, and air.
Pesticide Action Network is sounding the alarm that this form of big government overreach is becoming a reality, and new language introduced in the current Farm Bill could seal the deal at a federal level. Because of this bill, your community's ability to safeguard against dangerous pesticides under threat, and your voice can make a significant difference.
The upcoming Farm Bill includes language pushed in by the pesticide industry that would strip local control from ALL local municipalities, rendering nearly 150 communities powerless in enforcing protective pesticide laws. Now is the time for every citizen to act and oppose this preemption language.
What is “preemptive language”?
In 43 states, local communities cannot implement rules stricter than state-level regulations due to preemption laws. This means preemptive language in the Farm Bill overrides your local government. It will mean that local governments lack the authority to protect you from harmful pesticides, a situation exacerbated by the pesticide industry's aggressive campaign dating back to 1991(lots of background here).
The “Coalition for Sensible Pesticide Policy,” formed by pesticide lobbyists in response to a Supreme Court finding, spearheaded the rapid spread of preemption laws. By introducing model legislation in statehouses, they successfully limited the ability of city or county governments to regulate pesticides.
Preemption forces a "one size fits all" policy, hindering quick responses to local environmental, health, and economic issues, tying the hands of your local city or county to block dangerous pesticides. This impacts each of us, our vulnerable children, and the communities we call home.
Critical Action Needed
**Contact your Senators and Congressmen now to oppose preemption language in the Farm Bill.**
Tell them you believe in the rights of your local government to set stricter pesticide controls and that preemption jeopardizes the health and well-being of your community and your right to protect your local public spaces and food supply.
The pesticide preemption battle in Hawaii serves as an example: Hawaii, one of the seven states maintaining local control, is facing a critical battle due to extensive pesticide exposure from genetically engineered crops. Despite victories in local ordinances, corporations have challenged these regulations, highlighting the need for continued local control.
Communities across the U.S. are taking steps to protect themselves, yours can too:
- Takoma Park, Maryland: Restricted lawn care pesticide use with the Safe Grow Act of 2013.
- California Counties: Won protective pesticide buffer zones around homes and schools.
- Minnesota Cities: Adopted rules to protect bees from pesticides, becoming “Honey Bee Havens.”
- Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) in partnership with the Connecticut Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) provides technical assistance to municipalities to convert to organic methods to manage their turf playing fields. DEEP and NOFA worked with Manchester and Watertown to transition from conventional pesticides and fertilizers on soccer and baseball fields.
The current preemptive language proposed in the new Farm Bill would make efforts like these impossible and leave communities helplessly subject to state-level protection, however lacking it is.
Please Get Involved.
Firstly, if your state allows community control over pesticide rules, utilize this local authority. If not, work with local leaders to petition the state for stronger regulations. Understanding the history of industry-driven efforts to take local control away is crucial in shedding light on the issue. Secondly, oppose pesticide preemption in the Farm Bill and stand up for your community's right to set stricter pesticide controls.
Together, we can ensure the health and safety of our communities. You can make a difference! Please take action and share widely.