Friday, December 20, 2019

Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Regulate Application Of Lawn Fertilizer, Certify Applicators

On December 18, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) introduced Senate Bill 915 which sets standards for the application of fertilizer to turf, provides for the certification of professional fertilizer applicators and for labeling and an education program (sponsor summary).
The goal of the legislation is to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient pollution going into Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.  The legislation was included as a recommendation in Pennsylvania’s latest Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.
“The health of Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers is of critical importance to our economic future and quality of life,” said Sen. Yaw.  “Unfortunately, thousands of miles of streams in the Commonwealth are impaired due to excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. Excess levels of these nutrients are also significant contributors to the impairment of the Chesapeake Bay, whose watershed covers 50 percent of our state.
“For decades, Pennsylvania’s farmers have led the way to implement erosion and sedimentation controls, nutrient management plans and other best management practices on farms.” explained Sen. Yaw.  “More recently, wastewater treatment plants have begun to implement upgrades to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus emissions. Both sectors should be commended for their successful efforts.
“Unfortunately, as these sectors continue to implement nutrient reductions, high levels in urban and suburban storm water continue to grow. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, acres of turf now outnumber acres of corn,” He said.
“This legislation will reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to turf areas, such as lawns, golf courses and athletic fields, while ensuring that all turf areas within the Commonwealth will be able to receive adequate nutrients so that adverse turf health will not result as an unintended consequence,” said Sen. Yaw.
Matthew Johnston, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, said one estimate is the legislation will result in a 10 percent reduction in nitrogen applied to urban turf and a 70 percent reduction in phosphorus or annual reductions of over 180,000 pounds of nitrogen and over 220,000 pounds of phosphorus pollution.
“To put these numbers in perspective, Pennsylvania would need to replant over 16,000 acres of forest to obtain similar nitrogen reductions, or over 240,000 acres of forest to obtain similar phosphorus reductions,” said Johnston.
Similar legislation has already been enacted in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey, and the industry has expressed a strong desire for consistency across the region and state.
Legislation like this passed the Senate in 2018 as Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Franklin).  The House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill last June, but did not consider it.
The bill was referred to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
Sen. Yaw serves as the Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission.
Sen. Yaw can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to:
Related Article:
Related Articles This Week:
Related Articles - PA Chesapeake Bay Plan:
[Posted: December 20, 2019]

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner