Pesticide Ordinance Draft Borrows Language from Industry Lobby
by Bridget Chase
Portland’s Fertilizer and Pesticide Task Force met once during the month of October. The meeting had a promising start because the Task Force at long last had a draft ordinance to review. The first pesticide ordinance draft was a disappointment for those hoping it would take a strong position to reduce pesticide use, like done recently in South Portland and Ogunquit.
City staff wrote the first draft from scratch. It surprised some members of the Task Force because of its stark lack of semblance to the South Portland ordinance. Up until this point Task Force Chair, Councilor Mavodones had used the South Portland ordinance as a central point of comparison. After all, the City Council charged the Task Force to “…review the proposed South Portland ordinance and other jurisdictions, as well as scientific literature regarding the effects of pesticides on public health and the environment.”
Portland Protectors Frustrated
Avery Yale Kamila, a member of the Task Force and co-founder of the Portland Protectors, wants a strong ordinance that restricts the use, misuse and overuse of pesticides in Portland. The Portland Protectors’ Facebook page is vocal in its concern with the pesticide ordinance draft.
The day after the October 11th meeting, the group posted that the draft “ignores the South Portland ordinance, straw polls taken by the task force and citizen requests for specific property rights protections, while borrowing language from a sample ordinance written by the pesticide industry lobby group Mainers for Greener Communities.”
The group is also frustrated by the efforts of Task Force members that work in the pesticide industry to minimize the need of adding OPM (organic pest management) to the City’s proposed ordinance.
The Task Force’s second October meeting was cancelled to give City staff more time to revise the ordinance. This is not surprising given the numerous comments and edits offered at the first review. The Task Force will review the next draft of the Portland pesticide ordinance on Tuesday, November 1st at 6:15 p.m. in Room 24 at City Hall.
The revised draft of the ordinances is available for the public to review at portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/4174?fileID=18120 and portlandmaine.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/4265?fileID=18366.