Agriculture Panel Advances Brubaker’s Bill Addressing Fertilizer Usage on Turf

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee unanimously approved today legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Brubaker (R-36) that would enhance water quality by providing a statewide standard for the application of turf fertilizer, ultimately improving the health and future of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters.

Under Senate Bill 1149, Pennsylvania homeowners and those tending to golf courses and athletic fields would continue to be permitted to apply fertilizer to lawns but at limited rates and times.  Other provisions outlined in Senate Bill 1149 would limit the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer that could be sold over the counter.  Fertilizer products would also be required to label warnings for consumers to not apply near water, to sweep the product from driveways, sidewalks and streets, and to not apply if heavy rain is expected.

Brubaker who serves on the Chesapeake Bay Commission emphasized that his legislation is intended to reduce the over-application of fertilizer in suburban and urban areas, where it can wash into local streams and into the Chesapeake Bay.  As part of the Bay’s clean-up efforts, Pennsylvania has received pressure to reduce the amount of its nutrients that end up in the bay, according to Brubaker.

“This bipartisan legislation would bring residential homeowners in line with the pollution reduction practices already employed in the agricultural community.  It’s time our Commonwealth joins other states to meet the federal pollution reduction goals and contribute to the protection and health of the Chesapeake Bay,” he said.

Senate Bill 1149 is a modification to language contained in legislation introduced in 2011.  Similar measures have been enacted in the states of Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.


Colleen Greer
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