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Vermont's pesticide use rules are tightening for the first time in decades

A photo of a person dressed in a white suit and blue latex gloves using a device to spray liquid onto grass.
Mihajlo Maricic/Getty Images
Last week, lawmakers unanimously voted to amend Vermont's pest management rules to be in compliance with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Vermont pesticide rules are changing for the first time in 30 years.

Last week, lawmakers unanimously voted to amend the state’s pest management regulations. Changes to storage, application and notification practices were made to be in compliance with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

New rules include:

  • Stricter requirements for storing pesticides.
  • Updated policies for notifying the public.
  • Requiring that restricted use pesticides only be applied by certified applicators.
  • Agriculture officials cannot issue permits for spraying aerial pesticides to control mosquitos without consulting with the Health Department first.
  • Landowners and joint property owners in condos would be notified when and what pesticides will be used on their property.
  • Companies must obtain a permit to spray pesticides for adult mosquitoes.
  • A new permit process for town governments that are using the chemicals on private land and in public rights-of-way.
  • A buffer zone is required near public wells or water intakes.

Nicole Dehne is with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. She says these changes will provide helpful information for farms that do not use chemical pesticides.
“Any regulation change that makes it easier to understand what their neighbors are using on the adjacent property will impact organic producers,” she says.

Some concerns were raised by advocacy groups that the changes did not go far enough in protecting the environment.

More from Vermont Public: As Farmers Plant Cover Crops To Reduce Runoff, Report Says They Also Use More Herbicides

Agriculture officials say they plan to address seeds treated with pesticides, and regulations to further protect the declining bee population, in later sessions.

David Huber is the deputy director of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

"As the state lead agency on pesticide use and regulation for Vermont, we want to make sure that everyone is using them in the best manner possible," he said.

The rules are expected to go into effect by mid- to late-February.

“We're going to be having additional rulemaking coming up in the near future for other components of pesticide law," Huber said. "As far as certification and training requirements go, with the federal requirements being updated, it just made sense for us to update the rule as a whole.”

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Corrected: January 25, 2023 at 11:28 AM EST
Requiring that restricted use pesticides only be applied by certified applicators.
Marlon Hyde was Vermont Public’s first news fellow, from 2021 to 2023.
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