|The Great Falls of the Potomac in Montgomery County, Maryland|
|Councilmember Craig Rice called today's ban a "common sense measure."|
In a subcommittee in July, sealant industry representatives tried to portray the USGS research as the false, primary source for all subsequent coal tar sealant studies. When it was pointed out that the EPA had also done their own research, it was claimed that all it demonstrated was that both asphalt-based and coal tar based sealers have PAHs. They failed to mention that the runoff from the coal tar sealed lot was 100 times more potent than an asphalt based sealer even though the pavement was not subject to any vehicular traffic.
The industry acknowledged that the sealant wears down and washes away. They contended that it doesn't travel far and that the particles do "not have much bioavailability." The industry has yet to produce anything that shows the bioavailability of their cured product.
The ban passed unanimously 9-0. Technically the County Executive could veto this bill, but an override only requires 6 votes.
The effective date of the ban is a little uncertain, but appears to be 91 days from the date of passage. If true, it essentially will go into effect next sealant season. The penalties in the bill are:
Any violation of this Chapter is a Class A violation. However, notwithstanding Section 1-19, the maximum penalty for a civil violation of Article I is $1,000 for an initial or repeat offense. Each day a violation continues is a separate offense.
Congratulations to the Montgomery County Council, staff and its citizens for its thoroughness in exploring the pros and cons of this legislation and having the courage to do what is right for its people!