Relates to the regulation of the sale and analysis of fertilizer; prohibits local governments from enacting any laws relating to the labeling, quality, transportation, treatment or recordkeeping requirements for the sale or use of fertilizer in this state.
BILL NUMBER:S848 REVISED 07/16/12
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to regulation of the sale and analysis of fertilizer
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would provide the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets with authority to make a standard label for all fertilizers and regulate its sale.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends the Agriculture and Markets Law by adding a new Section 145-a, prohibiting municipal governments from adopting any regulations on labeling and sale of fertilizer that are different from or in addition to any such requirement adopted in accordance with Article 10; renders any local legislation in violation of this section void and unenforceable; and does not preempt or otherwise limit the authority of any county or municipality to adopt and enforce zoning regulations, fire codes, building codes or wasted disposal restrictions.
The bill does not change the Department of Environmental Conservation's sole authority under NYS Environmental Law Section 17-2105 to regulate application of fertilizer, however, it does create, under the regulation of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, a standard of state law for labeling and sale that would not be preempted by local law.
Section 2 sets the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Municipal governments are beginning to pass local laws regulating the sale and labeling of fertilizers with the belief that application of them is harmful to the environment and, specifically, that restricting fertilizer use will improve the quality of drinking water. This theory is unsupported by science and, in fact, has been proven to be incorrect. In fact, these local regulations may even do more harm than good.
Properly applied, fertilizer is of no threat to the environment and, in residential settings, promotes fuller thicker lawns. A Pennsylvania State University study showed thick lawns slow the velocity of run-off and allow water to infiltrate the ground 15 times greater than a patchy, weed-infested lawn. An average lawn allows a run-off rate of about a half-gallon of water per minute during peak rainfall, as opposed to a rate of 7.5 gallons per minute from a lawn that is thinly seeded and bare. Research has also shown that the amount of phosphorous in run-off from lawns without phosphorous fertilizer was significantly higher than from lawns fertilized with phosphorous - the exact opposite of the intended effect of these local regulations.
In addition, allowing for varied local regulations would create a patchwork of differing fertilizer labeling and sale requirements from munici pality to municipality that would make it very difficult - and costly for businesses to achieve compliance. This would drive landscapers and fertilizer applicators out of business while driving the cost of fertilizer applications up, placing an undue share of the burden on the consumer. Most importantly, the local governments considering these regulations often do not have the scientific or environmental expertise to create and enforce local fertilizer regulations, nor have they considered the cost of the program, which very likely could cause local tax increases.
This legislation, therefore, provides pre-emptive responsibility for the regulation of the sale and labeling of fertilizer to the one agency in the state with the expertise required to do so - the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009,2010: S.247S/A.6039 Referred to Agriculture 2007,2008: S.8493/A.11521 Referred to Rules
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state. Additionally, this legislation could serve to avert unforeseen tax increases on the local level.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 848 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to regu- lation of the sale and analysis of fertilizer THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 145-a to read as follows: S 145-A. STATE PREEMPTION OF REGULATION OF FERTILIZER SALE AND ANALY- SIS. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, NO CITY, COUNTY OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION SHALL ADOPT ANY LABELING REQUIREMENT, QUALI- TY STANDARD, RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENT, TRANSPORTATION REQUIREMENT, TREATMENT REQUIREMENT OR PROHIBITION THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM OR IN ADDI- TION TO ANY SUCH REQUIREMENT ADOPTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS ARTICLE. THIS INCLUDES ANY REQUIREMENT GOVERNING PRODUCTION, USE, ADVERTISING, SALE, DISTRIBUTION, STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION, FORMULATION, PACKAGING, LABELING, CERTIFICATION, REGISTRATION, APPLICATION, IMPORTATION OR DISPOSAL OF FERTILIZER AS DEFINED IN THIS ARTICLE. 2. LOCAL LEGISLATION IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "LOCAL LEGIS- LATION" MEANS ANY ORDINANCE, MOTION, RESOLUTION, AMENDMENT, REGULATION, OR RULE ADOPTED BY A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION PREEMPTS OR OTHERWISE LIMITS THE AUTHORITY OF ANY COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY TO ADOPT AND ENFORCE ZONING REGULATIONS, FIRE CODES, BUILD- ING CODES OR WASTE DISPOSAL RESTRICTIONS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03443-01-1