Bill Increasing Pesticide Fines Turns Into Working Group

Mar 11, 2020

Dicamba can drift off of one soybean field that is resistant to the herbicide and damage a non-resistant field nearby.
Credit Seth Tackett/WTIU

Lawmakers voted to send a bill to the governor on Wednesday that would create a working group to look into penalties for misusing pesticides.

The original bill would have increased the maximum fines for farmers and others who abuse products like dicamba — a controversial weed killer that can drift off of fields and kill neighboring crops.

But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston), says lawmakers and pesticide users couldn’t agree on how high those fines should be. He says they compromised by leaving fines as they are, but creating a working group to study the issue.

READ MORE: Two Bills Aim To Stop Dicamba, Pesticide Misuse

“To report back to the legislature by Dec. 1 on their recommendations how we can better deal with this in the next session,” Lehe says.

A similar state bill would have doubled maximum penalties for those who misuse pesticides, but it failed in a Senate committee.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.