A controversial proposal to ban the use of “non-essential” pesticides on private lawns in Montgomery County may be prevented by state law, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.
Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Rowe wrote that a court could rule the part of the bill banning pesticide use for private property owners is preempted by state law already addressing pesticide use.
“While the matter is not completely clear, it is my view that the general ban on application of non-essential pesticides may well be preempted, but that other parts might not be,” Rowe wrote earlier this month in a response to an inquiry about state preemption from Montgomery Village Del. Kirill Reznik. “It is my view that a court could conclude that this provision would interfere with the purposes of these State provisions, as well as the goal of achieving uniformity.”
Rowe wrote that other parts of the bill, introduced by Council President George Leventhal to much support and opposition earlier this year, wouldn’t run into preemption issues.
Leventhal’s bill also would exempt golf courses and farms from the pesticide ban, but not county property and playing fields. Montgomery Parks, which runs the county’s nearly 300 recreational playing fields, has urged Leventhal and other Council members to exempt its fields too.
Rowe said that requirement, as well as requirements that would require signage if pesticides were being applied, shouldn’t pose any legal issues.
The private property provision has been one of the most controversial parts of the bill.