Today I received an email alerting members of Washington Friends of Farms and Forests to a proposed ban on phosphate-containing fertilizers in the state of Washington. Here’s part of the text of the email (I’ve removed underlining, bolding, highlighting etc. so this reads as objectively as possible):
“Concerns with the HB 1271 & SB 5194 banning the sale of fertilizer containing phosphorous:
1) The intent section contains scientifically inaccurate statements, creating a false precedent that turf fertilizer is a significant surface water pollutant and is not necessary for a healthy lawn.
2) It grants the authority to regulate fertilizer sales and use to the Department of Ecology (Currently, the Department of Agriculture regulates fertilizer content and registers it for sale.)
3) It changes the definition of fertilizer used by the Department of Agriculture, creating confusion.
4) It is inconsistent and will be ineffective because it exempts “natural organic sources.” Organic products are high in phosphorous. The ecosystem cannot tell the difference. All fertilizer should be regulated equally.
5) It fails to recognize the expertise of trained lawn care professionals, who should not be prohibited from providing quality service to their customers, including publicly owned golf courses, parks, and sports fields.
6) As written, it bans the use of phosphorous fertilizer for forestry, house plants, shrub beds, golf courses, sports fields and other uses. It is unclear as to private commercial property.
7) It bans the sale of phosphorous fertilizer for flower and vegetable gardens, forestry, house plants, shrub beds, golf courses, sports fields, and many other uses.
8) It bans retailers, including farm stores and ag dealers, from displaying any type of fertilizer containing phosphorous.
9) It fails to address the primary causes of impaired water quality. Regulating something because it’s easy without addressing root causes of the problem accomplishes nothing.”
So, readers and colleagues, do a little homework over the weekend. Look at the bill itself (both the house and senate bills are the same; the link is for the house bill). Are these nine concerns valid? Discuss.