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Legislature Delays Passage of Pesticide Notification

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Residents in Erie County who were hoping for a pesticide spraying notification law will have to wait a little longer. The County Legislature has once again delayed action on a notification requirement for lawn pesticide applications.

Before the Legislature headed into session, the New York Public Interest Research Group demanded approval of the pesticide notification law. NYPRIG says it has been waiting two years for action. Spokesman Michael Davoli says the law would require pesticide companies to provide a 48-hour notification to residents if lawns in a neighborhood are to be sprayed. Davoli is also wants to know where County Executive Joel Giambra stands on the issue.

"Where does he stand? Does he stand on the side of protecting kids in the county? Or does he stand on the side of protecting small businesses who have absolutely no evidence to show that this law will affect them one way or the other?" Davoli asked.

The Legislature tabled a vote and instead says it will re-examine the bill during the summer recess. But Davoli didn't consider it a defeat. He says it appears lawmakers now want to work toward a "sunset" provision in the bill, meaning it would have to be reauthorized after oneyear if it is to remain in effect.

Republican Legislator Steve McCarville says he was ready to approve the pesticide notification law, but many of his colleagues want to re-work it.

"Some of our members would feel more comfortable passing this measure if it had a sunset provision, just to make sure it gives us a chance to make sure it's working," McCarville said.

A representative of the pesticide industry, John White, says pesticide companies do offer notification to residents who call. White says the county needs to meet with the industry to refine the bill.

"The problem is a homeowner can do it themselves and buy the exact same over-the-counter pesticide and apply it themselves (without any neighbor notification)," White said. "So can the cemetery across the street and the golf course next door. We're the only ones that have to notify? We're the minority here. We use less pesticides than they do."

The Legislature expects to vote on the law when it returns from August recess in September.