South Portland, ME Passes Powerful Pesticide Ordinance

Maine Community Becomes National Leader in Movement to Reduce Pesticides

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Andy Jones, Toxics Action Center, 207-871-1810

South Portland, ME--On Wednesday, September 7th, the South Portland City Council passed a pesticide use ordinance that makes South Portland the first city in Maine to ban the use of dangerous pesticides on city land and private property.  The ordinance, which passed 6 to 1 with Councilor Linda Cohen opposing, also positions the city as a leader in the national movement to reduce pesticides.

“The passage of this ordinance tonight is a major victory for public health and for Casco Bay,” said Andy Jones, Toxics Action Center's Maine Community Organizer. Toxics Action Center worked with community leaders and local grassroots environmental group Protect South Portland to build support for the ordinance.  Protect South Portland will remain engaged in the process of educating residents about the ordinance and its implementation, and plan to help businesses and homeowners choose sustainable methods to manage lawns and gardens without the use of harmful pesticides.

"The City of South Portland has worked very long and hard, with the input of many interested parties, to come up with a comprehensive, well-thought-out ordinance to protect the health of our residents and environment, " said Abby Huntoon, the coordinator of Protect South Portland. The ordinance was written to end the use of pesticides that are harmful to people, pets, and wildlife and will come into effect in phases, beginning with city land and followed by private properties and, eventually, golf courses. 

The City of Portland is also considering a new ordinance, and has appointed a group of citizens and professionals to the Portland Pesticide and Fertilizer Task Force to explore the issue. Protect South Portland hopes that the victory tonight will inspire other towns lto take action.  "I very much believe that it's the grassroots that will make a difference in other towns across Maine" says the group's founder Rachel Burger, "just like it did here in South Portland."