Mainers enjoy their private property rights. That’s why you should be on the lookout if you are a resident of Portland and enjoy your right to maintain and protect your home and outdoor space. That could all change by the end of the year. Portland’s City Council is considering an ordinance that would take away your right to choose how you protect your family and property from harmful insects and invasive and nuisance plants.
The ordinance will take away your right to choose how to protect your family, pets and property by banning the use of state-approved pesticide products. This will restrict your right to apply the products you buy from local hardware, nursery or retail stores that have been approved for use in Maine by our state regulators
Maine has a comprehensive program of pesticide regulation through the Pesticide Control Act, administered by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry that governs the state program, and through the Board of Pesticides Control and the law that directs its activities. Both laws and agencies ensure safe and proper pesticide use in the state through their oversight and regulatory and review process. The state has the knowledge, resources and expertise to oversee these products and ensures consistency with federal regulations and standards.
Pesticides serve important public health and environmental goals, protecting people, pets and property from mosquito and tick-borne diseases, invasive and non-native species, and providing safe and healthy places to live, work and play. Pesticides are rigorously reviewed, evaluated and approved for sale and use at the state and federal levels on an ongoing basis, ensuring they meet the most current scientific and safety standards.
Removing any resident’s and landowners’ choice about how to maintain and treat their land, be it by themselves following federal and state approved pesticide label instructions, or with a hired professional, is unnecessary. The ordinance under consideration flies in the face of recognized state and federal science-based standards and rigorous regulation.
Everyone wants a safe and clean community and the ability to maintain a pest free home and yard. It’s important that we stay safe from ticks, rodents and noxious plants, and that we can maintain our property values. That is why we should instead support following label instructions and focusing on public education, promoting the proper use and benefits of pest control products that protect all of us while at home and in public spaces.
Let’s think first about education and a collaborative discussion before considering the prohibition of state-approved products we count on to protect us. It’s important we participate in the discussion and let the Portland City Council know we want the ability to protect our homes and yards and need these state approved tools.