Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In




PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In Pennsylvania

PLNA Government Relations Committee Won’t Support Fertilizer Bill

Wednesday, June 29, 2016   (3 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
Share |

Fertilizer SpreaderHARRISBURG – Last week, the PLNA Government Relations Committee decided not to support a bill that would regulate fertilizer on which it had been working with PDA for the past year and a half.

PLNA concluded that PDA had done a good job of drafting a program that would cause the least disruption and cost to the green industry. However, when PDA submitted the bill to EPA for review, EPA concluded that the bill did not provide sufficient environmental benefit to give Pennsylvania credit toward meeting its Chesapeake Bay goals.

Pennsylvania has been under pressure from EPA to reduce loadings of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment into the Susquehanna River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

The Government Relations Committee concluded that if the bill provided no environmental benefits and Pennsylvania would get no offsetting credit from EPA, there was no sense in imposing the program’s additional costs on the industry.

PLNA’s goal was to have the new fertilizer program integrated as closely as possible with the existing pesticide certification program so as to cause minimal impact and cost on companies in the lawn care business. PLNA thinks that PDA has done a good job of doing that in this latest draft.

The draft legislation would do several things:

  • Require all businesses that apply fertilizer for hire to pay an annual fee of $100, register and have at least one employee on staff who is certified by PDA to apply fertilizer.
  • Require any person who applies fertilizer for hire to be certified by PDA (much as pesticide applicators are certified by PDA) after passing a written exam.
  • The exam to become a certified fertilizer applicator will be a part of the current pesticide certification program as a separate category.
  • Keep records regarding the application of fertilizer to a property, including the time, amounts and rates of application.
  • Allow certified applicators to train fertilizer applicator technicians who could apply fertilizers under indirect offsite supervision. Those not certified could apply fertilizer only under the direct on-site supervision of a certified applicator.
  • Allow for those currently holding pesticide applicator certification to be grandfathered into the fertilizer program as a certified applicator for the period that their current pesticide certification is in effect.
  • Application rates for fertilizers would be set by PDA in consultation with Penn State.
  • Preempt local governments from enacting ordinances that would regulate the application of fertilizers.

The draft legislation has not yet been introduced in the General Assembly.

You can review a copy of the latest version of the draft legislation by clicking here. If you have any comments, please contact Gregg Robertson at PLNA via email or call 717.238.2033.


Green Dreamers Lawn and Tree Care, LLC says...
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Granted, healthy lawns benefit the environment. It is also true that most of the nutrients that end up in our waterways come from farming practices. But we are the only ones who end up depositing fertilizers onto impervious surfaces. Believe me, I have seen many streets coated with fertilizers and it is disheartening to say the least. Right now those practices are not regulated and many applicators do not even understand the implications. I thought that PLNA was on board with promoting sustainability. As a small business owner and sustainable practices proponent I see no down side to regulation in our industry that levels the playing field and benefits the environment.
Gregg E. Robertson says...
Posted Monday, August 15, 2016
The science supports good turf grass management as a net positive when it comes to water quality, according to the EPA Expert Panel Report of 2013. The report states: "The research demonstrates that dense vegetative cover helps to reduce surface runoff which can be responsible for significant nutrient export from the lawn, regardless of whether it is fertilized or not. Dense cover has been shown to reduce surface runoff volumes in a wide range of geographic settings and soil conditions." So keeping a lush lawn is actually helping control runoff. The export of nitrogen, phosphorus and particulates in the urban/suburban component of the Chesapeake Bay model includes runoff from construction, streets, roads and other impervious surfaces. Little, if any is contributed by turf grass fertilizer. That's why EPA has refused to give Pennsylvania credit for the turf grass fertilizer bill that we worked on with PDA. No impact, no credit. Please see other articles on this in PLNA eNews archives.
Green Dreamers Lawn and Tree Care, LLC says...
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2016
As an LCO owner and an unapologetic proponent of sustainable practices I must point out that I witness monumental environmental irresponsibility in the use of fertilizers on lawns and landscapes. No one wants to see more regulation of our industry. That is especially true in Central PA (Pennsylbama). However, the fact remains that according to the EPA, urban and suburban storm water is the source of about 15% of the total nitrogen entering the bay and is the only source still increasing. And for what reason? Mostly vanity in producing that "greenest lawn on the block". Theses operators have brought the need for regulation upon themselves. I still frequently see granular fertilizers lying in the street where they will be swept into storm drains with the next rain. What a shame. Excessive fertilizing also leads to increased mowing and even more pollution. Come on folks, we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children. We should be willing to elevate our game

Sign In


Plant Propagation

Pruning Trees Correctly: Section B

2018 PA Safety Day Conferences

Growers Meeting for Ten Million Trees Project

Plant Propagation

Sign Up for PLNA e-News