President Trump’s choice of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is an indicator that our population and environment are now in deep jeopardy. Our citizens will have to take the lead.

A primary issue for Portland will be protection from exposure to the enormous array of chemicals overburdening our endocrine and immune systems, and implicated in the development of many chronic diseases.

South Portland recently achieved a major victory when city councilors passed a comprehensive ordinance leading to a phased-in, citywide moratorium on the use of all harmful pesticides as it works to educate its citizens in adapting organic methods for soil health – which ultimately will lead to improved health for its people, plants, beneficial insects and marine life.

The Portland Protectors asked for an effort to model a similar ordinance for our city. However, the task force formed was heavily weighted with people who use pesticides professionally and resisted limitation of professional use. The resulting ordinance recommendation is inadequate in controlling the use of hazardous chemicals and doesn’t promote educating the community about the harmful use of commercial pesticides and safer alternatives.

Maine is one of just seven states that allow local regulation of pesticides – a right that we could lose if the Legislature passes L.D. 1505, which would strip communities of the ability to protect the environment and public health from the effects of harmful pesticides.

So while we still can, I urge Portland citizens to join me in becoming informed about the dangers of the continued use of pesticides, in attending City Council meetings and in speaking out strongly in defense of our air, our water and the future health of all beings in our community. We can continue to let industry put profit ahead of people and our planet, or we can begin together to turn this tanker around.

Priscilla Skerry

naturopathic doctor

Portland