'Astroturf' Lobbying for Lawn Pesticides

A year after the Canadian Supreme Court's landmark ruling allowing municipalities to ban the use of lawn pesticides, the chemical industry is fighting back. "In many cases they have been successful in out-organizing the local communities," says Alex Cullen, a member of the Ottawa City Council. In Toronto, for example, public meetings last week on a proposed pesticide ban were overwhelmed by representatives from lawn-care companies sporting T-shirts, handing out pamphlets and offering quick comebacks to any question. "The chemical companies are using the same template across Ontario," said Cullen. "They've taken on pro-environment names like the Ontario Environmental Coalition, hired lobbyists, written letters, made presentations and packed meetings."