Monday, March 10, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
The Meadowmere Resort in Ogunquit, seen Friday, uses environmentally friendly means to tend its gardens. Ogunquit may ban chemical pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides to protect the town's natural resources.
Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer
Various exemptions and waivers would be allowed under the extended ban. Poison ivy control on the Marginal Way, a public footpath along the water, is exempt under the current ordinance.
Fines for violating the ordinance would range from $100 to $2,500.
However, Code Enforcement Officer Scott Heyland, on the job for a month, said he hasn’t figured out how strictly the new ordinance would be enforced. “I don’t think we are going to be out running and chasing people. It is all very new,” said Heyland.
Horn said he expects the enforcement will be a word-of-mouth process. “If you see a neighbor doing some spraying, you can say, ‘You know we got a law,’” said Horn.
Horn said if the ordinance passes, the conservation commission will try to spread the word to summer residents with mailings, messages on the town website and through articles in newspapers and other media.
Outside the small seaside town, meanwhile, there are critics of the proposal. State and national pest management and landscape associations say banning all chemical presticides, herbicides and fertilizers is not a good idea.
Gene Harrington, vice president of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association, said a total ban would be highly unusual and probably unenforceable.
“It will lead to neighbors snitching on neighbors as a result of years-long vendettas,” said Harrington.
He said the Maine Board of Pesticides Control already does a good job regulating pesticides in the state. “It is better left to the folks in the state that have the resources and expertise,” said Harrington.
Pesticides have already gone through a stringent regulatory process at the federal level, too, according to Harrington. He said people will resort to more desperate measures, which could be worse for the environment.
“It sounds poorly thought through,” said Harrington.
Don Sproul, executive director of the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association, which has 325 members across the state, said his group supports organic products and sustainable practices, but it does not support a total ban on chemical garden products.
“You need to keep your options open,” he said.
Sproul said one New Hampshire community that banned chemical applications on public property learned to regret it. He said the town ended up with a pest infestation on its high school athletic fields and had to shut them down for two years. “They spent several hundred thousand dollars as a result,” said Sproul. The Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association lauded the proposed ban. “It is bold for Ogunquit to be taking this on,” said Heather Spaulding, interim executive director.
Beth Quimby may be reached at 791-6363 or at: email@example.com