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Montgomery Co. leaders vote to ban pesticides

On Thursday, a Montgomery County Council committee voted to limit the scope of a countywide pesticide ban. Council President George Leventhal, who sponsored the original bill, disagreed. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — The Montgomery County Council has passed a widespread pesticide ban that won’t take effect until 2018.

In a 6-3 decision, the panel decided that homeowners have to go green when it comes to lawn care. The council came to the decision after hearing from community members and environmental activists who argued for the countywide ban.

The law does not affect the county’s agricultural businesses; it focuses on playing fields and home lawn care, said Council President George Leventhal.

“The right of a homeowner to maintain a weed-free lawn does not supersede the right of adjacent neighbors to be kept free of harm,” he said of the council’s vote.

The council agreed homeowners should have more time to prepare for the change. They have until Jan. 1, 2018 to stop using pesticides.

“Lawmakers have spent nearly two years on a bill that provides no benefit to the citizens of Montgomery County,” said Karen Reardon, a spokeswoman for RISE, which represents pesticide manufacturers. “This bill is so extreme that it’s unenforceable. It’s also unnecessary. It puts the community’s health and workers’ livelihoods at risk.”

Councilmembers Sidney Katz, Craig Rice and Roger Berliner voted against the ban. In his remarks, Berliner said a countywide ban will create a backlash.

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