Leventhal: Lawn pesticide ban in Montgomery County likely

WASHINGTON — Montgomery County could enact a ban on pesticides if a vote Tuesday goes as Council President George Leventhal expects.

Under the proposal, using chemicals simply to achieve a greener lawn would be prohibited, but pesticides and herbicides could be used in certain cases — such as dealing with “noxious weeds, invasive species, stinging and biting insects,” Leventhal told reporters during a briefing Monday.

Leventhal said he has the five votes needed for the bill to pass. The Montgomery County Council is composed of nine members.

Leventhal said discussions with people around the county motivated him to promote the bill.

“I am persuaded by hundreds and hundreds of reports I’ve received of children and pets experiencing adverse effects from the application of pesticides,” he said.

If enacted, the dates the law takes effect would be staggered: July 2016 for county-owned property and parks; and Jan. 1, 2017 for private property.

Leventhal says it’s possible that provisions banning the chemicals on private property could be challenged, but says that is true of any legislation.

“I respect the rights of property owners to maintain their own property,” Leventhal said. “I don’t think a property owner has the right to inflict harm on adjacent property owners.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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