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Hillsborough commissioner seeks fertilizer ban

The county declined a summertime prohibition of fertilizer use 11 years ago.

In the wake of Red Tide-triggered fish kills in Apollo Beach, Ruskin and other Hillsborough County locations, Commissioner Mariella Smith wants to revisit a proposed fertilizer ban that didn’t pass muster more than a decade ago.

Smith said she will ask the rest of the commission for an ordinance to prohibit application of nitrogen fertilizers across Hillsborough County during Florida’s rainy season. It would be similar to rules already in place in Pinellas County and the city of Tampa.

“This is a way we can join our neighbors around Tampa Bay to work together to reduce polluting fertilizer that is rinsing into the bay with every summer rain,” she said.However, Smith said she would not seek a summertime ban on fertilizer sales that is included in other local ordinances. Under state law, agricultural land would be exempt.

Smith isn’t the only one seeking stronger rules.

Last week, the St. Petersburg City Council urged the Pinellas County Commission to extend its annual fertilizer ban beyond the traditional June 1 to Sept. 30 window.