A Pinellas County ban on the sale of fertilizer in summer months has prompted a House committee to amend a bill to ban local governments from adopting fertilizer ordinances.
The Pinellas County Commission in January approved the ban after researchers blamed nutrient runoff for polluting area waterways, requiring $30 million in repair projects, according to a news report. But the ban has created a backlash among legislators who said they worry that more cities and counties could adopt fertilizer regulations, creating problems for businesses and farmers.
A Florida Retail Federation representative told the House General Government Policy Council that stores in Pinellas County must remove fertilizers from store shelves from June through September.
HB 1445 was amended by the council to provide the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with the responsibility of regulating the sale of fertilizers. Rep. Ralph Poppell, R-Vero Beach, said the amendment he offered would avoid the need for "fertilizer cops."
The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association and ServiceMaster, which owns the TruGreen national lawn service, supported the bill. Opponents included the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties, the Sierra Club's Florida chapter and Audubon of Florida.
Opponents said the bill prevents local governments from avoiding more expensive solutions to pollution. The bill passed 12-2 and is headed for the House floor.
(Story provided by the Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)