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Rockland Co. NY Legislature Passes Non-Toxic Landscape Act

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2008) Rockland County, NY legislators passed a bill on June 17, 2008 to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on all county-owned or leased land. Rose Marie Raccioppi, the community organizer behind the bill, is a member of Beyond Pesticides, the National Pesticide-Free Lawn Coalition, and Orangetown’s Environmental Committee. She brought her concerns about pesticide exposure to the Rockland County Legislature last year, and advocated strongly for the passage of the Rockland County Non-Toxic Landscape Maintenance Act.

“This is the beginning of what is hoped to be a continuing campaign,” Ms. Raccioppi said. “We hope it moves from county to towns to school districts and eventually, the consciousness of the individual homeowner.” As the law currently stands in New York, and most other states, municipalities may not pass legislation regulating the use of pesticides on private land and buildings, reserving governance of such matters to the state government. However, towns and counties throughout the U.S. (See Daily News of April 15, May 12, May 13, and June 16, 2008) are passing regulations restricting the use of pesticides on publicly-owned land. For a list of these local policies, please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Tools for Change site.

The bill embraces what they have called non-toxic pest management (NPM) practices, characterized as “a problem-solving strategy that prioritizes a natural, non-toxic approach to turfgrass and landscape management without the use of toxic and synthetic pesticides. It mandates the use of natural, non-toxic, or, as a last resort with EMC approval, least toxic cultural practices that promote healthy soil and plant life as a preventative measure against the onset of turf and landscape pest problems.” The bill, however, does allow for exemptions to these laws in the case of tick control, poisy ivy and poison oak control (when it poses a health hazard), and rodent control in the form of baits.

In Canada, provincial governments are taking action to ban cosmetic use of pesticides completely (for examples, click here). This has caused Home Depot in Canada to announce the stoppage of sales of toxic pesticides in its Canadian stores.

While towns, cities, and counties in the U.S. currently lack the legal ability to regulate homeowners’ decisions about lawn care, legislation such as the Rockland County bill provides an important opportunity to educate homeowners and encourage them to adopt least-toxic alternatives on their own.

Source: The Journal News


4 Responses to “Rockland Co. NY Legislature Passes Non-Toxic Landscape Act”

  1. 1
    dog looks for safe lawn Says:

    I wish my town had done this. They had the opportunity and allegedly due to expense they sought the services of a more conventional landscaper – I guess it all comes down to money – so what message does that send the to the community? – that money outweighs your children’s safety and future health. I guess so. Stupid. Greed wins.

  2. 2
    Rose Marie Raccioppi Says:

    Yes, one can be discouraged. New action, new intention, new outreach can bring about a different result. This has not been a course without challenge. The significant issues rest within the ultimate good that is not compromised and the benefit derived from that ultimate good. For something to catch on one needs to maintain the vision of benefit. We can make the difference!!!


    Rose Marie Raccioppi

  3. 3
    Verne M. Bell Says:

    Bravo to you in Rockland County!

    How did you go about doing this? What are the steps.

    In Orange Co. the Unitarian Universalist Congregation is hoping to create an interfaith task force to approach the OC Legislature.

    We are novices and need to inform outselves as well as determine the process.

    I don’t think we’ll get this off the ground until fall, so we can plan ahead.

    Thanks for any advice you can give me.

  4. 4
    Rose Marie Raccioppi Says:

    Verne M. Bell – what progress have you and/or the Unitarian Universalist Congregation made toward your goals? Do not hesitate to call upon me. It can be done!


    Rose Marie Raccioppi

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