Malibu’s Effort to Eliminate Environmentally Devastating Pest Control Poisons Gets Key Approval from the California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission (CCC) during its May 13, 2021 meeting ruled to allow the City of Malibu to take an important step forward in its efforts to further restrict environmentally devastating rodenticides, herbicides and pesticides within the City limits.
“I am proud of this important achievement made possible by the strong collaboration and dedication by Poison Free Malibu, community members and City staff to take a stand to protect our animals, habitats, pets and children,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti.
The City has been striving for years to eliminate environmentally harmful poisons from City limits, and has taken numerous measures to restrict their use, in partnership with Poison Free Malibu, a local non-profit dedicated to eliminating such poisons from the environment in Malibu.
Prior to the CCC approval, the City’s ability to enact more powerful restrictions on the use of environmentally harmful herbicides, pesticides and rodenticides was hampered by existing state law that preempts the ability of municipalities in California to create laws prohibiting the use of state-regulated chemicals.
On December 9, 2019, City Council unanimously voted to amend the Local Coastal Program to prohibit the use of pesticides, including insecticides, rodenticides or any toxic chemical substance which has the potential to significantly degrade biological resources in the City. The amendment was submitted to the CCC for certification. During the last few months, the City, Poison Free Malibu, and community members worked with CCC staff to address the CCC’s proposed modifications. The revised amendment language was approved by the CCC on May 13. City Policy 3.18 can now include the following:
- Explicit inclusion of rodenticides as a type of restricted pesticide.
- Expansion of the policy’s scope by making its restrictions on the use of harmful pesticides apply citywide, rather than only in and adjacent to Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA).
- Narrower circumstances under which pesticides may be used for habitat restoration or control of invasive species by, among other things, requiring applicants to first consider using non-chemical methods.
The next step is for the City Council to certify the amendment as certified by the CCC. Once fully certified the City can implement the new LCPA provisions to restrict the use of pesticides within the City. To enforce these restrictions, the Malibu Planning Commission will have the ability to include a condition of approval that addresses the use of rodenticides, pesticides or insecticides as part of the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) approval process. The City will then have the ability to issue a citation for violation of a CDP that contains a condition which includes a prohibition on the use of these chemicals.
City staff will present the LCPA for certification by the City Council at an upcoming meeting and discuss the implementation process.
For more information about the City’s efforts to eliminate rodenticides, herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals from the environment, visit the project web page.