Friday, March 7, 2014
AUGUSTA -- A public hearing Friday will address proposed new rules governing pesticide notification and use.
One amended rule specifies that the current 500-foot notification distance for aerial applications be modified to allow for notification up to 1,000 feet from an aerial application.
Paul Schlein, spokesman for the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, said aerial pesticide applicators are no longer required to notify participants of the state's notification registry -- which had a 1,320-foot notification distance -- since the Legislature repealed the registry effective last week.
It is now up to property owners who wish to be notified to request notification directly from land managers.
"The Legislature decided to make that change because some people would like to know about aerial spraying even if it's more than 500 feet away," Schlein said Wednesday.
The board also will hear testimony Friday on a proposed new rule and amendments to two other board regulations.
The new rule would establish a licensing system for farmers who use "general use" pesticides -- products available to the public but require a license for some application -- and who sell more than $1,000 worth of plant or plant products intended for human consumption.
The system would include procedures for farmers taking exams, applying for a license and documenting continuing-education requirements.
"Farmers using these pesticides will now be required to be trained and licensed," he said. "This is to make sure people know how to apply these products properly. It may affect up to 2,000 farmers."
The second proposed amendment would eliminate the requirement for training prior to purchasing or planting "Bt corn" -- the genetically modified corn that incorporates genes of the naturally occurring soil bacterium bacillus thuringiensis.
The third amendment to be discussed would remove a defunct fish hatchery -- Deblois Fish Hatchery -- from a list of areas protected from pesticide applications.
The hearing is at 9:30 a.m. in the Colby/Thomas Room of the Hampton Inn at 425 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville.
All Maine citizens are invited to the public hearing to offer comment to the board on any or all of these rules, or to submit comments to the board in writing.
People can review the proposed changes and make a comment www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/laws/rulemaking.htm.
Written comments can be emailed to email@example.com. Coments should be sent to Maine Board of Pesticides Control, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. Deadline for comments is 5 p.m. Oct. 21.
Mechele Cooper -- 621-5663