Get involved or get run over
As green industry business owners, managers, employers, and employees, you are aware of the multitude of benefits our industry provides to the economy and the environment of our nation, our state, our cities, and our local communities. Unfortunately, many of our elected officials, municipal leaders, and government agencies do not understand the importance of what the green industry does every day.
Increasingly, new restrictions are being placed on landscape professionals in every sector of our industry in communities across the United States. Here are just a few of the recently enacted or proposed restrictions that have come to our attention:
- In one Texas community, limits have been placed on the amount of turfgrass allowed and watered with spray irrigation systems on new residential construction.
- Maryland’s Lawn Fertilizer Law has added new restrictions, including fertilizer blackout periods, no applications within 10-15 feet of waterways (depending on applicator), and the prohibition of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus, among other restrictions.
- The proposed expansion of the definition “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act would subject all waters to regulation, including man-made water bodies, rights-of-way, golf course ponds, ditches, and flood plains. Permits would be required for chemical application near bodies of water.
- The East Hampton Village Board, East Hampton, NY, is implementing new restrictions on landscapers with the chief objective being to limit noise on construction and landscaping job sites. The rules impact workday start times, varying with gas- or diesel-powered equipment, as well as the time of year or weekends.
Closer to home, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) has begun the revision of the Drought Management Rule, which will have a huge impact on our industry and all water users. EPD’s draft rules ignore the exemptions that were put in place by the 2010 Georgia Water Stewardship Act and would potentially create the same disastrous scenario that was encountered in the last drought (2005-2007), with a hodge-podge of local restrictions. UAC, GGIA, GAC and other organizations are pushing hard against this overreach, writing counterproposals to the EPD draft rules. A positive note is that many other industries and water providers are objecting to EPD’s original proposal. Look for a call to action to contact your elected officials and EPD this fall.
Dealers and contractors should work together to find solutions that support the success of their businesses while appeasing the local community. Discuss your equipment and lawn care options.
As an industry, we must ALL work together to find solutions that support business success and promote social and environmental responsibility. Proactive measures by members of our industries can help protect personal interests and lower the impacts of these restrictions.
And just like a disgruntled customer is more vocal than a happy one, advocates against the use of certain chemicals and equipment will work hard to be heard. Every member of our association and our industry must get involved and advocate for their freedoms and illustrate their proactive and responsible conduct.
How do you keep from getting run over?
Interact with your colleagues at UAC dinner meetings, field days, and other events. Pay attention to the legislative “Calls to Action” that are distributed via email to UAC members. Meet your legislators, participate in events such as the annual legislative visit. Meet your legislators and – yes – donate to their campaigns. Contact us and we’ll help you get involved.