From your GCSAA Field Staff, Kevin Doyle:
There is always so much emphasis on the color green. As spring ramps up temperatures, the grass does indeed come to life bringing with it that wonderful seasonal hue we all enjoy. The Masters returned to its typical April timeslot adding a green jacket to the discussion. Earth Day is approaching, a day when sustainability and protecting our environment is meant to be celebrated. I am unsure if the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or on the other side of the aisle. It is strange how politicians now can influence turf management at your facilities even more than general managers, greens committees, or owners. When did being environmentally green turn rabid and political? Where does the golf industry fit into this new “green” model?
It seems not long ago that recycling and saving water were very important. Switching lights off to save energy and utilizing electronic documents to save paper were emphasized too. Everyone seemed happy to be making improvements to our wonderful planet. The good old days. Now, fast forward 30 seconds (it seems) and using materials that even require recycling is wasteful. Every drop of water belongs to the environmentalists. Energy must be generated by wind or solar and if not, it should be banned. You must know how your power was generated or you are part of the problem.
At one point, doing the right thing to protect the environment went from a voluntary movement by the masses to a mandate by just a few. Our industry continues to see the impact of this radical activism. If the small minority of loud voices are not making the impact on society they hoped for, they channel their efforts to the political realm. Initiatives to enact their preferred changes at every level of regulation, including local, state, and federal, is now the norm.
GCSAA has expanded our industry-leading government affairs to help protect our members. Chava McKeel, Director of Government Affairs, and Bob Helland, Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs continue to advocate strongly at the federal level. GCSAA’s Manager of Government Affairs, Michael Lee, has increased efforts at the state level.
In addition to policy research and communication with members, Lee has initiated a monthly call with state lobbyists retained by GCSAA chapters. These calls have aided in sharing of ideas and resources in hopes of minimizing duplication and streamlining advocacy efforts. With nearly 20 lobbyists on the call each month, many of the regulatory and legislative pressures our superintendent members are dealing with are discussed.
Regarding efforts in New York, thanks to all of you who have already taken action regarding the chlorpyrifos ban. Another neonicotinoid ban bill, Senate Bill S699A the “birds and bees protection act,” has been introduced and if you have not been made aware of this yet, you will be. Legislators must hear from those affected by legislation and grassroots efforts like those undertaken by the GCSA of NY and peer associations are essential in accomplishing that balance. NYAFEC lobbyists Todd Vandervort, of the Vandervort Group, and Rick Zimmerman, of Zimmerman & Associates, have worked hard to ensure your point of view is considered by those legislators directly responsible for the bill, but ultimately your engagement is and will continue to be critical.
New Jersey superintendents are acting on a bill that has already moved through the Senate and is being addressed by the Assembly now. It would be the most stringent neonicotinoid bill anywhere in the country. Not only would it create a drastic change to the green industry in New Jersey, it could easily cause reverberations in state houses across the bridge (that’s you!) and country. Our collective voices are our strongest asset. Please be sure your voice is included.