20 French mayors have banned glyphosate from their towns, defying the government, which is now taking authorized action to impose nationwide legislation which allows the controversial weedkiller’s proceeded use for now.
In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron had promised to ban glyphosate in France within three years, refusing a European Union decision to increase its use for five years after a heated debate over if glyphosate, developed by Bayer-owned Monsanto, can cause cancer. However, Macron has since mentioned that a cover ban is not doable within that timeframe.
On Thursday, the regulatory tribunal of Rennes, western France, heard the mayor of Langouet, Brittany, who has barred the use of pesticides in his town within 150 meters of people’s homes and offices.
Mayor Daniel Cueff informed the court – which is ready to rule next week – the prohibition was geared toward shielding residents from molecules considered a well-being risk.
Around 300 people attended the hearing, and about 100,000 have signed a petition to help Cueff’s prohibition.
A lawyer for the French state argued that’s not in a mayor’s powers to forbid phytosanitary products, that are managed by the agriculture department.
The department declined to comment; however, Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume stated in January France will remove 80% of its glyphosate usage by 2021.
Farmers’ unions protested the ban, saying there aren’t any viable options for the chemical compounds and that a shift to organic farming is too costly.
Permitting the mayor to disregard the state over glyphosate “would be the return of the local barons and the reign of the lords over their slaves,” Cedric Henry, head of Brittany farmer’ association FDSEA-35 stated in a statement.