Friday, December 17, 2004

For Immediate Release December 16, 2004
For more information contact
Amy Winters, President
Capitol Strategies, LLC
(608) 235-8443

Madison and Dane County Phosphorus Bans Spur Lawsuit
Group says bans ignore science and the law

Madison….Local retailers and trade associations filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against the City of Madison and Dane County seeking to overturn ordinances passed earlier this year that ban the display, sale or use of most lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.

The group representing local hardware stores and lawn care businesses, farm supply retailers, and the specialty fertilizer industry said the bans, which are scheduled to take effect next month, put area retailers at an unfair disadvantage, are illegal and will do little to clean up area lakes.

Ann Smith, an attorney with Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group, said that the ordinances are preempted by state and federal laws, and violate several provisions of the State and U.S. Constitutions, including the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment free speech guarantee. “These ordinances deliberately ignore constitutional law and state and federal law,” said Smith. “We are confident the Court will agree.”

Ed Knapton, owner of America’s Best Flowers Garden Center in Cottage Grove said the ordinances makes him and other retailers the fertilizer police because they are required to find out where people live, how they plan to use the fertilizer or make them show test results to prove they need it. “Our competitors across the county line don’t have this burden or restriction,” said Knapton adding that he is also unable to display legal products in his store.

According to Amy Winters, President of Capitol Strategies, LLC a government relations firm representing the chemical and specialty fertilizer industry, “state and federal laws prohibit local regulation of weed and feed products in order to avoid confusing, conflicting and unnecessary rules for those who manufacture, sell and use those products. The burden that these ordinances place on local retailers, lawn care providers and homeowners is unacceptable.”

In addition to violating state and federal laws, the group also asserts that the ordinances ignore science. “Fertilized turf is actually better at stopping phosphorus runoff than grass without fertilizer,” Winters said referring to Research at the UW Turfgrass Research Center that shows healthy, dense grass fertilized with phosphorus limits runoff to almost nothing. “The issue is about sound policy and utilizing sound science to achieve it; the Madison and Dane County ordinances do neither and add further insult by blatantly violating state and federal laws.”

Below is a letter to the editor written on behalf of NCA by President Preston Wright in response to the wild horse supporters, who oppose sale authority given to the BLM in the 2005 Omnibus Bill.

Letter to the Editor:

Wild horses are in conflict with healthy rangelands, rather than with ranchers and their livestock. In this time when current range management theory dictates that public land ranchers need to have some grazing system, some method for rotating the areas his or her livestock use in order to provide periods of rest for the range, it is simply no longer acceptable that large herds of horses graze the same range all year, every year.

No one is proposing that all the wild horses be removed from the ranges; the sale of older horses is simply the most practical way to allow for the reduction of horse numbers to levels which approach a balance with the health of their ranges. The numbers of livestock are controlled by permits and seasons of use. Numbers of wildlife are controlled by hunting quotas and predators and migration. Wild horse numbers are set by the Wild Horse and Burro Act and the regulations which implement it. Wild horse numbers are uncontrolled when the BLM’s hands, as they are now, are tied by legal appeals and budgetary limits; wild horse numbers are controlled in that case only by drought and starvation, and that method is particularly cruel to both the ravaged country and the ravenous creature.

That ranchers have complained about unrestricted wild horse for decades is undeniable. That the BLM has been granted the authority to sell older horses outright, after nearly forty years of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, is a testament to the fact that many proponents of wild horses have seen the reality of excess wild horses and have quietly stepped aside. It’s not that the ranchers have finally won. It simply that the same range science which has greatly restricted the way livestock are grazed in the West has finally come to face the reality of uncontrolled grazing by the people’s horses in Nevada.

In the unending effort to balance natural resource access and management conflicts upon the West’s rangelands, nearly every group has been willing to come to the table and put their “money where their mouth is”. Ranchers, sportsmen, and environmental groups, all have accepted the need for, and have made, mitigating contributions. The wild horse advocates howling now have never done anything but ask for more, probably because it has all been free—they’ve not even had to stand the emotional price of seeing animals mummified alive due to starvation and drought.

Limited sale authority of excess wild horses will give the BLM the tool for which they have always expressed a need, in order to return the wild horse herds to levels which will allow for a balance between healthy native plant communities and forage and water in amounts proper for a horse.

Preston Wright, Deeth, NV.

Nebraska steers folks straight on beef facts

Celebrating and Savoring Nebraska Beef Celebrating and Savoring Nebraska Beef By Governor Pete Ricketts May 11, 2021   Governor's offici...