Victory for Falmouth Efforts to Cut Nitrogen Pollution
Senate President Theresa Murray rescued both striped bass and the town of Falmouth with a deft riposte after a parry by the Attorney General. “Town efforts to regulate lawn fertilizer application can move forward thanks to a provision shoehorned into the recently approved state budget,” reported Sean Driscoll in the Cape Cod Times on July 18.
Local swashbuckler, Eric Turkington, former state representative and chairman of Falmouth’s Water Quality Management Committee, who commenced the governmental parlay, gave the Senate President a salute. He was delighted to find out that local rules finally could be carried out.
Last July, when more than a dozen striped bass and one horseshoe crab were found dead on the shores of Long Pond from eutrophication and blooming algae, Falmouth took action. A bylaw was passed that bans the application of fertilizer during heavy rain and banned within a hundred feet of water. Most importantly, the bylaw allows no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn to be applied each year. One pound is a significant reduction from the current state standard of five pounds. In May the bylaw was struck down by the A.G. for differing with the deadly lawn care practices called for by the state, a practice we now know kills fish.
Thanks to all of you who spoke out for Falmouth and stopping fish kills. Over 11,000 of you wrote letters in support of Falmouth’s bylaw. Your words made an impact.