Many cities and counties across the country are debating ordinances to ban/restrict the use of chemical pesticides on city/public property. This includes parks, city office buildings and government-owned recreation facilities such as golf courses. Local bans/restrictions on pesticide use is a trend that has gained momentum ever since the city of San Francisco, Calif., adopted such an ordinance in 1996. This ordinance has been used as a model by anti-pesticide activists to try to enact similar laws in other locations. Bans on pesticide use by local governments has also been a precursor to efforts to totally ban the use of all pesticides in a community—including applications by private citizens to their homes and lawns, applications to commercial property, privately owned golf courses, sports fields and other recreational facilities.
Many states have preemption (or “state primacy”) laws to prohibit municipalities from adopting local laws and regulations on the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Without such laws, the more than 80,000 municipalities in the U.S. could adopt and enforce their own unique ordinances, including use and applicator certification, making compliance virtually impossible. Local pesticide restrictions hinder the ability of golf course superintendents to control pests that have a detrimental effect on healthy turf.