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June 20, 2011
Governor Signs Bill Restoring Common Sense to Pesticide Notification Laws
For Immediate Release Contact: Paul Schlein, 207-287-2731
AUGUSTA—In the continuing effort to cut "red tape" regulations that place unnecessary burdens on Maine businesses, Governor LePage signed into law today a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this month, repealing a redundant law requiring pesticide applicators to provide advance notice of pesticide applications to those who listed their property on a public registry. Previously existing laws will still provide Maine citizens with the right to be notified.
"I am once again very pleased to have worked closely with the Legislature to enact another law that reduces the burden of government on business—in this case farmers and those who they hire to do work for them," says Governor LePage. "This is another clear example of good, commonsense regulatory reform that will help the agricultural community move forward. The state has other effective and less burdensome laws that allow for notification."
LD 228, An Act To Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticide Application, repealed the pesticide notification registry for pesticide applications made by aerial or air-carrier equipment, first established by the Legislature in 2009. The new law includes an amendment with a directive to the Maine Board of Pesticides Control to amend its Chapter 28, Notification Provisions for Outdoor Pesticide Applications, in effect since 1998. Where the Board's current rule allows neighbors to request notification for any outdoor pesticide application within 500 feet of a residence, the amended rule will extend the notification distance for aerial applications to 1,000 feet.
The bill began with the Maine Farm Bureau, which worked with the co-chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Representative Peter Edgecomb, to be the bill's sponsor and submit it to the Legislature for consideration.
"We are trained and licensed pesticide applicators and take every precaution to protect the public health and the environment," says Clark Granger, chair of the Maine Farm Bureau legislative committee. "We thought the requirements of the notification registry were unreasonable and excessive. As an example, finding property boundaries for those on the registry was very difficult, especially within the time constraints of the law. Boundary information is inaccurate and often lacking entirely. The one-size-fits-all approach of the registry didn't seem to work well, while the old laws did, and that is why we recommended going back to them."
Many farmers said that the existing law created substantial administrative duties—especially for those that apply pesticides to multiple properties—without much, if any, improvement over the laws already in existence. Numerous reasons for repeal of the registry were voiced at Governor LePage's red tape audit sessions that were held around the state last winter.
"LD 228 is Augusta working for Maine," says Emily Smith of Smith's Farm, Inc., in Presque Isle. "The bill repeals the notification registry which duplicated notification laws already in place that have worked for decades. It is a perfect example of streamlining regulation, without hindering the people's right to know."
The new law will take effect in September 2011, 90 days from the close of the current legislative session.