Advocacy: Maryland

Take Action Today: Urge Your Senator to Vote "No" on a Maryland Neonics Ban

Thursday, March 3, 2016  
Posted by: Julie Hill
Last week, the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs approved SB 198 which calls for significant restrictions on the use and availability of neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides. The legislation passed out of committee by a vote of 10-1 and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration. The action occurred despite testimony by the Maryland Department of Agriculture that to date the agency has not documented any cases of neonicotinoid pesticides negatively impacting honeybees in Maryland."

We have learned that the Maryland Senate is expected to bring the issue to a floor vote within the next week or so. As such, we are asking you to contact your senator ASAP to urge her/him to vote "no" on SB 198.

Under the provisions of SB 198, a person would be prohibited from selling in the State seeds and plants that have been treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide unless the seeds or plants bear a label or are in close proximity of a sign that bears a specific statement indicating that neonics are harmful to bees and other pollinator species. The bill also calls for a ban on the sale of neonics at facilities that are not licensed to sell restricted-use pesticides. Finally, the legislation would prohibit a person from applying a neonicotinoid pesticide unless the person is a certified applicator, a farmer, or a veterinarian.

Currently, not one state in our country has voted to ban the use of neonics. However, fueled by activist rhetoric that is not supported by field conducted science, many states are considering legislation similar to the SB 198. Proponents of the measure are using SB 198 as a test case and if it is approved we expect that they will aggressively pursue neonic restrictions or bans in multiple jurisdictions.

We are also seeing ban proposals pop up at the local level. Again, these are driven by the same emotional dialogue that really does not stand up to close scrutiny when examined objectively. Unfortunately, in politics there is power in numbers and anti-pesticide activists show up in droves whenever the issue of pesticide bans is discussed. Thus far, landscape professionals have not demonstrated the high level of participation that is necessary to counter the activist's efforts. As such we urge you to immediately send your senator the letter that accompanies this action alert.

To send the letter:   
  • Follow this link and input your home address and zip. You will be taken to a list of your elected officials.  
  • Uncheck the box for both House Delegate, but make sure that the box next to your Senator's name remains checked. 
  • Cut and paste the linked letter, and personalize if possible.
  • Hit send and take pride in the fact that you are speaking on behalf of Maryland's Landscape Professionals!
  • LCA will continue to monitor this issue closely and will work with other industry allies to help ensure that the voice of landscape professionals is heard when important measures that would impact the interests of our members are considered by state and local elected officials.