Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County this week became the fourth local government agency in the country to restrict use of synthetic pesticides on public land, joining a wave of cities and counties across the nation that are banning a chemical deemed by some to cause cancer.
Santa Rosa, Windsor and Sonoma have previously precluded application of synthetic weedkillers on public property, with Sonoma specifically targeting glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, the widely used herbicide manufactured by Monsanto.
At least 38 California cities and counties in California have now adopted bans on synthetic pesticides, along with jurisdictions in 22 other states from coast to coast, according to Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, a Los Angeles-based law firm that has won three cases against Monsanto with $2.4 billion in damages.
The pesticide rebellion gained momentum in 2017, when glyphosate was added to California’s Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals.
Megan Kaun, a Sebastopol resident who developed the county measure in collaboration with Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, began her campaign in 2015 when she found out glyphosate was being sprayed on a playground near her former home in Santa Rosa. Last August, the city prohibited use of synthetic weedkillers at dozens of parks, buildings and medians.
Windsor banned synthetic pesticides from public property last year, and the town of Sonoma barred use of glyphosate in April.
The newest regulation applies to lands maintained by county agencies, including water, parks, roads and the open space district, requiring them to eliminate use of synthetic herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to the “maximum extent practicable.”