Maryland court finds county pesticide ban valid

In a statement last week, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), the national trade association representing the specialty pesticides and fertilizers industry, said:

“Yesterday, we received a decision from the Maryland Court of Special Appeal in Montgomery County, Maryland v. Complete Lawn Care, et. al., finding the county’s ban on outdoor pesticide use on private property by residents and professionals valid. We disagree with the decision, which 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.

“We remain concerned that this local pesticide regulation undermines the state’s authority in regulating pesticides and ensuring they are used properly and safely throughout the state. The necessary expertise and enforcement capability are provided by Maryland Department of Agriculture.

“Even more concerning is that the ban includes the outdoor use of virtually all EPA and Maryland state registered pesticide products available at big box retailers, retail nurseries, grocery stores, online and through lawn and landscape professionals. Harmful pests are still present in the county regardless of the Court’s opinion. Montgomery County residents now have no realistic options to treat their own property or to have professionals make treatments using products that have been approved for this precise use in Maryland by the U.S. EPA and Maryland Department of Agriculture and that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective when used according to their labels.

“We are currently evaluating next steps to help ensure that each Montgomery County resident has the right to decide for herself or himself whether to use pesticide products that have been approved by the state of Maryland.”