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St Louis Aldermen consider the HOPPS bill to ban pesticides in Parks

on Wed, 10/25/2023 - 9:18pm

October 18, 2023

Several members of the St. Louis Board of Alderman (BOA) expressed support for a bill that would ban pesticides in the city's parks and public spaces during a meeting with members of the St. Louis No Spray Coalition on Tuesday, October 17.

Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer (1st Ward) said she was supportive of the Healthy Outdoor Parks and Public Spaces (HOPPS) bill. Also present at the meeting (which was conducted virtually) were Alderwoman Daniela Velazquez (6th Ward), Alderman Michael Browning (9th Ward) and Alderman Rasheen Aldridge (14th Ward). In a separate meeting with Alderman Aldridge on Monday, he expressed interest in sponsoring the bill. Members of the No Spray Coalition have now met with 6 members of the BOA: all the previously mentioned plus Alisha Sonnier (7th Ward) and BOA President Megan Green.

The response from Greg Hayes, the Director of the City's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry was discussed at the meeting. Several of the Alders have communicated with Hayes about the bill and said his response was, “This bill as written is unworkable.” This Department would be the most affected by the HOPPS bill as the City has 108 parks covering 2956.35 acres.

Similar bills have been passed by 150 other cities and municipalities in the USA,” Daniel Romano, one the No Spray Coalition reps, said. “If they can do it, St. Louis can do it also if we have the political will,” he added.

Barbara Chicherio of the No Spray Coalition pointed out that Mr. Hayes dismissed the HOPPS bill outright without any specifics on what his objections are. “We are willing to negotiate on HOPPS, we understand that passing a bill is a process,” Chicherio said, “but how can we negotiate if we don't know what his objections are?”

Erin O'Reilly, a nurse and lactation consultant who lives in St. Louis, talked about the health dangers of pesticides. “Children and the park employees are most at risk,” she said. She mentioned the case of Earl Neal, a former employee of the City's Forestry Department who was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Mr. Neal received an undisclosed settlement from Bayer, who bought Monsanto in 2018. 150,000 people have sued Bayer/Monsanto, alleging that cancers they have were caused by the use of the corporation's Roundup herbicide. After the lawsuits are settled, liability for cancers caused by Roundup could shift to employers that continue to use the herbicide—including the St. Louis Department of Parks.

The dangers of pesticides—which includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other poisons—have been well documented. The St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry uses pesticides which puts people at risk for cancers and other diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that children should avoid exposure to pesticides.

For more information for how you can help us protect people from pesticides, contact:

St. Louis No Spray Coalition


Phone: 314-771-8576 or 314-727-8554


facebook: St.Louis No Spray Coalition/March Against Monsanto St. Louis