Lawmaker pushes for fertilizer ban in NJ

September 8, 2010 3:46:01 PM PDT
It's been a hot topic in New Jersey for years.

Chemicals used on lawns, affecting bodies of water, specifically Barnegat Bay in Ocean County.

Assemblyman John McKeon is chairman of the Environment Committee and author of a bill that would ban many lawn care products on store shelves.

"It will be the strongest legislation in the country, and we need it," McKeon said.

Among other things, the bill bans phosphorus, which many lawn care companies have already done.

It also bans anyone from applying fertilizer to turf between November 15th and March 1st within 10 feet of any body of water, or during or just before heavy rainfall.

But the most contentious part of the bill limits the amount and type of nitrogen and fertilizer.

That means manufacturers would have to pull products and create new ones.

"This is only one small part of the problem, it's not a cure," said Bill Phillips, of Green-a-Lawn.

Phillips owns Green-a-Lawn.

He also owns a home on Barnegat Bay, so he knows how bad run off can be, but says this bill is just a small first step.

Assemblyman McKeon says it's a fantastic first step.

It will help Barnegat Bay and every other body of water in the state.

The run off from lawns will be less toxic.

Joan Lee was grooming her lawn in Hillsdale.

She says would gladly have her lawn suffer for safer standards.

"It would be a lot better for the drinking water. We have to think about the next generation," Lee said.

The bill must pass the Assembly and the Senate.

From there it winds up on Governor Christie's desk.

If it becomes law, manufacturers would have a year and a half to get all existing products off store shelves to replace it with the new "Jersey Safe" products.