Pesticide Ordinance Running Out of Time
by Bridget Chase
Portland’s Pesticide and Fertilizer Task Force met twice in July. Both meetings focused on sharing information and views. The task force is eager to draft a pesticide ordinance at its next two schedule meetings. The first is on August 2nd at 6 p.m., in City Hall Room 24 (in the basement). The second meeting is scheduled for September 6th, at 7:15 p.m., City Hall Room 24.
The timeline the task force has set to present recommendations to the City Council is very ambitious. Councilor Mavodones requested and received an extension at the July 6th City Council meeting. It will be difficult to draft an ordinance on time.
The dates Councilor Mavodones proposed do not correspond with the City’s on-line meeting calendar. His order requested an extension for the task force to make their presentation to the Energy and Conservation Committee on September 16th. The recommendations would go to the City Council on September 26th. The problem is the Energy and Conservation Committee meets on September 21st. This is after the City Council meeting on September 19th.
Protocol mandates that the task force report first to the Energy and Conservation Committee before the City Council. Another important meeting yet to be scheduled is the opportunity for the public to comment on the proposal.
Straightening out the meeting dates is an easy clerical fix assuming there is a draft ordinance to review. Also assuming that the task force’s recommendations make it out of the Energy and Conservation Committee.
Councilors Jon Hinck, Spencer Thibodeau and Edward Suslovic are the three members of the Energy and Conservation Committee. Councilor Hinck chairs the committee. He has been vocal about wanting the City to have a pesticide and fertilizer ordinance.
Councilor Thibodeau has been virtually silent on this topic because of work conflicts. He will recuse himself when the topic is pesticide and fertilizer use on private lands. Most likely the ordinance will mention private lands. This means that Councilor Suslovic’s vote may determine if this as-yet-unwritten draft ordinance makes it to the City Council by the end of the year.
The City Council has put together a competent, at times, feisty and determined task force to recommend how Portland can minimize the environmental and health impacts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This group is definitely up to the challenge.
Councilor Mavodones and the task force need to take a fresh look at the calendar. Let’s hope that the Energy and Conservation Committee allows the task force to meet its goal in 2016.
Bridget Chase is a freelance writer who lives in the West End and loves it.
For or against?
Let your Councilor know how you feel about a proposed pesticide and fertilizer ordinance for Portland. These four Councilors are especially important to the future of a pesticide ordinance:
- Councilor Nicholas Mavodones, Chair of the Pesticide and Fertilizer Task Force, 774-0257, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, member of the Energy and Conservation Committee, but reluctant to take a stand on pesticide and fertilizer use in Portland on both public and private lands, 650-2147, email@example.com.
- Councilor Edward Suslovic, member of the Energy and Conservation Committee and possibly the deciding vote on sending recommendations from the task force to the City Council, 671-6320, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Councilor Jon Hinck, Chair of the Energy and Conservation Committee, 450-0003, email@example.com.