Dennis Selectmen Approve Herbicide Ban, Exempt Golf Courses

Dennis Highlands Golf Course. Courtesy of

DENNIS – Selectmen in Dennis voted last week to adopt a ban of glyphosate on town-owned property.

The popular herbicide, commonly known as Roundup, has faced increasing restrictions and bans due to possible health and environmental impacts.

The environmental organization, Protect our Cape Cod Aquifer, has pushed for town bans of the product and says it can harm humans, animals, bees and ground water.

“The World Health Organization labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen even though our EPA says it is not,” said Chris Lambton, a Dennis selectman and owner of a landscaping business.

“This has led to no less than 39 countries to have banned entirely or severely limited its use.”

Lambton said banning the herbicide on town-owned property is a step in the right direction.

The ban exempts the Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands golf courses until July of 2021.

Golf Advisory Committee Chairman Eric Oman said it would be too hard for the courses to comply this year.

“The budgets are already done for the next fiscal year and we’ve got other alternatives and that type of thing that we’ve got to look into that would replace glyphosate, the Roundup that we use,” Oman said.

The Golf Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend no change when it comes to products that contain glyphosate to the board of selectmen.

“We feel with 1,500 members and a tremendous revenue stream into the town coffers that we have a pretty high stake in it,” Oman said.

Oman said the product has been deemed legal by the EPA and is allowed by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.

“I don’t want us to go down that slippery slope,” Oman said.

He said there are neighbor communities having issues with golf operations due to herbicide and pesticide bans, and are requesting larger budgets to purchase all-organic products.

“Their golf courses are in trouble and they are losing money,” Oman said. “It’s because of just jumping into something that we don’t know a lot about.”

Oman said the committee has been discussing the issue with turf management experts and professionals.

“They were willing to come and speak and willing to do seminars,” Oman said.

Dennis joins a growing list of Cape Cod communities to approve some sort of ban or moratorium on the use of glyphosate, including Eastham, Falmouth, Mashpee, Orleans, Sandwich and Wellfleet.

“I’d rather be overly cautious with our town workers, our residents, our children and the future of our environment by banning glyphosate,” Lambton said.

Several community members expressed concerns with the ban and said it could be a slippery slope.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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