Montgomery Pesticide Ban Struck Down as Preempted

Montgomery County’s ban on a wide range of pesticide use has been struck down in Circuit Court. The Judge, Terrence McGann, opined that state laws governing pesticide use effectively occupy the field, and that local restrictions are not allowable.

From coverage in Bethesda Beat:

The county law, set to go into effect in January, would have banned residents from using certain pesticides on private property. It was intended to limit the overuse of pesticides that have been the subject of studies showing a general harm to the people, animals and the environment. However, McGann ordered that the law not go into effect as scheduled.

“By generally banning the use of registered pesticides, the ordinance prohibits and frustrates activity that is intended to be permitted by state law, which conflicts with and is thus preempted by state law,” McGann ruled. “The county’s ordinance flouts decades of state primacy in ensuring safe and proper pesticide use, undermines the state’s system of comprehensive and uniform product approval and regulation, and prohibits products and conduct that have been affirmatively approved and licensed by the state.”

The Bethesda Beat writer has also posted the full opinion to a Scribd site online.

The county government has not announced a decision on whether it plans to appeal the finding.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties