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Putting Power in the Hands of Communities: Understanding the Local Control of Pesticide Use Bill

January marked the start of Colorado's 2024 legislative session, in tandem with PPAN's renewed efforts to restore community control of pesticide application. Getting the right bill passed is never easy. Indeed, some of our country's most important legislative wins have been the hardest and longest fought battles! Yet our work won't let up until local municipalities can adequately protect the health and safety of both their communities and their ecosystems.

The Backstory on Local Control

In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court case Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier allowed state and local governments to regulate pesticide use more strictly if they so choose. However, local control of pesticide use has been prohibited in Colorado since 2006, which means local Colorado governments have very little control in regulating pesticides in their communities. Municipalities can make decisions about what happens on land owned by the local government, but their hands are tied when it comes to any decisions beyond that due to state preemption. 

Expanded local control would allow municipalities to craft and adopt more specific ordinances that suit different communities' needs—such as creating pesticide free buffer zones to protect sensitive natural resources (think of waterways) and/or disproportionately impacted populations such as children, older adults, and marginalized communities. With the release of the Colorado Native Pollinating Insects Health Study, it was confirmed that pesticides cause major harm to people, pollinators, and our planet. This means that getting the local control bill passed is more vital now than ever before.

What Can You Do?

By working together, we can get the Local Control of Pesticide Use bill passed!




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