Businesses and associations, including RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) and CropLife America, recently filed a motion and supporting papers with U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, asking the Court to strike the City of Madison and Dane County ordinances banning the display, sale or use of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.

The plaintiffs argue the bans, which took effect Jan. 1, 2005, violate state and federal laws, as well as the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions. They also say the ordinances put area retailers at a disadvantage and will do little to clean up area lakes. “The City of Madison and Dane County believe that their ordinances will help alleviate the algae problem,” Jim Skillen, manager of formulator issues for RISE, said. “It is truly ironic that not only are they breaking federal and state law by instituting these bans, but by removing inorganic, phosphorus-based fertilizers from the marketplace, they will increase the phosphorus load in local lakes over the long term.”

According to research from the University of Wisconsin Turfgrass Research Center, healthy, dense grass fertilized with phosphorus improves turf better than fertilizer without phosphorus and thus, limits runoff to almost nothing.

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