Photo of Senator Kennedy.

State Senator

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford

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Kennedy Leads Senate Passage of Herbicide “Right to Know” Legislation

Bill will ensure that the public is made aware of any application of toxic herbicides to state highways

 

HARTFORD, CT – Every year, thousands of miles of land adjacent to Connecticut’s highways are treated with toxic herbicides that pose serious risks to human health and the environment. Today, Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. led Senate passage of legislation that will ensure that public notice is given of any application of herbicides along our state’s roads.

“Connecticut’s environment is one of our state’s strategic economic assets that must be preserved and protected for future generations,” said Senator Kennedy. “The overuse of toxic herbicides puts the health of our environment and the public at risk. Toxic chemicals also poison our pollinators and fisheries. I am fighting for greater transparency to ensure that our citizens know when and where roadside chemicals are being sprayed.”

Following final passage of this SB 754, the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Transportation (DOT) will make available on the DOT website a notification of any herbicide application along state highways. This will allow members of the public to know when and where herbicides were applied and which specific chemical is going to be used so that citizens can take any preventative measures they feel are necessary. Fifteen other states have already implemented similar “right to know” laws.

Environmental advocates have long voiced concern about the indiscriminate overuse of toxic chemicals and their persistence in the soil and waterways. Several states, such as Alaska and Iowa, and county governments from Florida to California, have already called for their respective transportation departments to either halt roadside spraying completely or to direct that herbicides be used sparingly in localized areas where no other alternative exists. Other states, such as Massachusetts, have banned spraying in sensitive areas and public drinking water supply drainage districts.

The issue of routine roadside spraying has gained more traction recently as newly-unsealed court documents reveal how Monsanto, the maker of the most widely used herbicide, glyphosate, repeatedly tried to hide evidence of the herbicide’s toxicity. The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015, and many countries have already banned or restricted the chemical’s use.

Now that SB 754 has passed in the Senate it will move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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