Appellate Court To Hear Arguments Over Montgomery County’s Pesticide Ban

Appellate Court To Hear Arguments Over Montgomery County’s Pesticide Ban

Circuit court judge last year struck down the law passed in 2015

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Via Wikimedia Commons

Attorneys in the court case involving Montgomery County’s ban on the use of general pesticides are slated to present their arguments to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals next week.

The county law passed in 2015 was set to go into effect in January, but a judge last year struck down the ban after finding it was preempted by state law. The matter is now in the hands of appeals court judges, who are scheduled to hear oral arguments in Annapolis on Tuesday.

The law that would have banned residents from using certain pesticides on private property was designed to limit use of the chemicals based on studies showing a general harm to people, animals and the environment. The County Council passed the law by a 6-3 vote despite warnings that it could draw a legal challenge.

The case contesting the ban was brought by county residents, local lawn care groups, companies that produce pesticides and the pesticide industry group Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann found the ban stands in conflict with state law, which outlines safe and proper pesticide use.

After the ruling was appealed, the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties filed briefs in June voicing support for the county’s pesticide law. Ten other organizations also lined up behind the law, including Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Food and Water Watch, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, US PIRG, Maryland PIRG Foundation, Organic Consumers Association and Safe Grow Montgomery.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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