Pass an organic land care ordinance in Portland, Maine
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Organic land care is the way of the future. More than 25 Maine communities already restrict conventional pesticides. Most of Canada has banned both the use and sale of conventional pesticides. France started rolling out its own ban in 2017.
In 2016, South Portland passed the strongest organic land care ordinance in the country. Portland residents want an ordinance as strong OR stronger than South Portland's.
Responding to resident complaints, the city finally eliminated its sidewalk Roundup spray program in 2016. The city is also working to reduce pesticide use. But the pace is slow and city staff still cling to IPM, which allows the use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers for cosmetic purposes. Meanwhile, any property owner in the city is free to buy conventional pesticides and apply them as they see fit. This often means high risk conventional pesticides run-off into storm drains and drift into neighboring yards.
Residents and visitors continue to be exposed to pesticides used on city athletic fields, the city golf course and by untrained property owners. Retailers remain free to sell these varied chemicals linked to diseases in both humans and animals; known to kill bees and other pollinators; and that negatively affect our environment and coastal waters..
In 2015, the city spent $25,000 on synthetic pesticides for the Riverside Golf Course, which abuts the Presumpscot River.
Our property rights are taken from us when pesticides drift and runoff from neighboring properties and kill foraging honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Children and pets often run across or lay down in treated areas.
Other communities in Maine, across the country and around the world have restricted conventional pesticides within their city limits. Eldredge Lumber and Hardware, which has a retail center in Portland, has removed all synthetic pesticides and fertilizers from its store shelves and replaced them with organics and seen sales rise 30 percent. Organic land care is the way of the future.
We the undersigned Portland residents, property owners, workers, business owners and visitors ask the City Council to reject IPM and enact an organic land care ordinance restricting the use and sale of conventional pesticides and fertilizers and permitting those allowed in the National Organic Program. It is our duty to advocate for children, pets and pollinators today. By passing such an ordinance, the Portland City Council can keep our community and environment healthy and thriving and maintain our place as a leading green city.
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