AG’s Office Believes State Law Preempts Montgomery County Pesticide Ban

An April 29 Gazette.net article reported that the Maryland Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has determined that most of a Montgomery County proposed ban on “nonessential” pesticide use would be preempted by State law.  The determination was  requested by Delegate Kirill Reznik on behalf of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.  The Farm Bureau opposes the bill as a prelude to regulating agricultural pesticides.

From the article:

While some [of the proposed ordinance’s] provisions — including requiring the county executive to develop a list of nonessential pesticides and banning application on county property — don’t conflict with state law, the overall ban would be pre-empted by existing state law, the [OAG advice] says.

The proposed pesticide ban has strong support from organizations such as Safe Grow Montgomery, but has staunch opposition from the lawn care industry and the Farm Bureau, which sees the measure as a step toward more restrictions on agriculture. …

Farm Bureau President Lonnie Luther said his organization views the proposed ban as “one of the worst bills anyone could conjure up.” …

Safe Grow Montgomery had not seen the opinion until Friday, and said in a statement Monday that it does not agree with the attorney general’s office. …

In its statement, Safe Grow Montgomery wrote that “it is misleading and incorrect to take statutory language out of context to imply statutory intent.”

Council President George L. Leventhal, the bill’s author, said he does not see the opinion standing in the way of passage.

“Our legal staff does not think that we’re pre-empted,” he said. …

The article noted that the Farm Bureau, with backing from its state and federal counterparts, is prepared to file a lawsuit if the Council passes the ordinance.

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