House Passes Bill Restricting Lawn Fertilizer

02/24/11 4:04PM By John Dillon

AP Photo/Dean Fosdick
The Vermont House has advanced a bill that restricts fertilizer use on lawns. Residential users would have to get a soil test to determine if a lawn needs help before applying fertilizer. The bill is aimed at reducing phosphorus in waterways.

(Host) The Vermont House passed a bill this afternoon that restricts the use of fertilizers on lawns.

An overload of phosphorus and nitrogen can trigger toxic algae blooms. Williston Democrat Jim McCullough argued that the legislation would help protect Lake Champlain and other waterways.

(McCullough) "Vermont has taken many steps to address the pollution to Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River, but more are needed. Other states have faced similar water quality issues, and one management measure that has been used is limiting the types of fertilizer that may be applied for residential use."

(Host) The bill exempts farms. But it says residential users must get a soil test first to determine if their lawn needs help before applying fertilizer. Advocates say that amounts to a virtual ban, since most soils in Vermont don't need additional phosphorus.

Critics say the bill was poorly crafted and that homeowners could face $500 dollars in fines for trying to green up their grass.

The bill now goes to the Senate.



phosphorous lake_champlain vermont_legislature politics environment
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