Two Victories in Hartford: Legislators Defeat Pesticide Bill and Cell Tower Bill

There’s good news out of Hartford, where two changes to state laws that would have been bad for Connecticut’s environment have been defeated.

The first, “An Act Modifying the Ban on Pesticide Applications on School Grounds” (SB 5155), would have rolled back a law that banned the use of so-called cosmetic pesticides on school lawns and playing fields.

The second, “An Act Modernizing the State’s Telecommunications Laws” (SB 447), would have opened up state parks and forests to the construction of more cell towers.

The pesticide ban helped safeguard Connecticut’s children from exposure to dangerous pesticides. It had a residual conservation benefit in that many of Connecticut’s most common birds use lawns and playing fields to search for the insects that make up the bulk of their diet.

Rolling back the ban would have subjected Connecticut’s school children to an unnecessary risk, while also threatening our state’s most common birds by killing their food source and exposing them, directly and indirectly, to toxic pesticides.

The bill was passed by the Senate and sent to the House Environment Committee, where Rep. Richard Roy declined to put it up for a vote, thereby killing it.

As for the telecommunications bill, it contained a provision that would have made cell towers compatible with more typical parks and forests uses, thereby allowing them to be built more readily. An amendment by Senator John Fonfara and Senator Kevin Witkos deleted those sections of the bill.

The law now allows cell towers in state parks only after review by the commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and only if the towers conform to current DEEP policy. – Tom Andersen, Director of Communications and Community Outreach

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