As I write this, it is Earth Day. It has been a year since the Portland City Council, in response to citizen action, called for a task force charged with developing a strong city ordinance banning the use of synthetic pesticides in the city similar to the one that has been passed in South Portland. During that time I have read many articles about the deteriorating health of Casco Bay and the large variety of chemicals found in Casco Bay.

Meanwhile, spring has come again and once again I watch the little chemical warning signs sprout up next to the crocuses and daffodils on lawns that have been treated with unnecessary chemicals, much of which will end up washed into the bay through storm drains and runoff. The task force has yet to even present a proposed ordinance to the council. I attended most of the task force meetings and was struck by the fact that there were several members of the task force highly committed to the current practice of integrated pest management and no one on the panel with expertise in organic land care or public health.

I anticipate that the task force proposal will not be the strong organic land care ordinance that they were charged to write.

As the largest city in Maine, Portland should be a leader in developing policies and regulations to protect our waterways and our children’s health. Instead, while other communities up and down the coast already have ordinances that ban or regulate the use of pesticides within their jurisdiction, Portland continues to lag behind and resist paying heed to what concerned citizens are asking for and science clearly shows is needed. I urge you to contact your representatives on the Portland City Council and let them know that you favor a strong organic land care ordinance in Portland now.

Phyllis Reames

Portland