[env-trinity] Trinity Journal: S.A.F.E. joins lawsuit challenging pesticide spraying plan
tstokely at att.net
Wed Jan 28 16:18:37 PST 2015
S.A.F.E. joins lawsuit challenging pesticide spraying plan
Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:15 am Eleven groups and
the city of Berkeley, including Trinity County-based Safe Alternatives
for our Forest Environment, sued the California Department of Food and
Agriculture last week over the agency’s approval of a statewide “pest
management” plan that allows pesticide spraying on schools, organic
farms and residential yards, including aerial spraying over homes in
rural areas. California approved the program despite tens of thousands
of public comment letters calling for a less toxic approach that would
protect the vitality and resilience of the state’s food system and the
economic interests of organic farmers. The approved
program allows the state to use, without any additional environmental
review, 79 pesticides that cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive
harm and are also highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds.
Pesticides used in the program include chlorpyrifos, which is banned in
Europe and a recent U.S. EPA study found poses hazards to workers and
drinking water; the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, which is highly toxic to bees; the deadly, ozone-depleting fumigant methyl bromide, which is
being phased out because of an international treaty; and chloropicrin,
which causes genetic damage. The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation last week announced strict new standards for chloropicrin
because of the threat is poses to public health.
“This program puts people and
some of California’s most imperiled species, like salmon and tiger
salamanders, directly in harm’s way from dangerous pesticides,” said
Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the
Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s frightening that the state would
spray these toxic chemicals throughout California without fully
analyzing their effects or telling the public of the consequences.”
The plan, approved Dec. 24 as
part of the Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Environmental Impact Report, allows these dangerous chemicals to be used anywhere in
the state, any time into the indefinite future, without an option for
affected communities to stop the spray. The state can also approve new
pesticide treatments and treatment sites behind closed doors without
public scrutiny or notice.
The lawsuit, filed in Alameda
Superior Court, outlines numerous ways the spray plan violates state
environmental laws, including failure to notify the public of future
pesticide spraying and failure to analyze the impacts of the pesticides
on human and environmental health, including harm to infants and
contamination of drinking water.
“Municipal drinking water sources that are already contaminated with pesticides would be further degraded by this pesticide program. How can the department realistically claim
that pesticides sprayed under this program will never reach any of those bodies of water?” said attorney Jason Flanders of ATA Law Group.
The suit was brought by Center
for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, California
Environmental Health Initiative, MOMS Advocating Sustainability, Center
for Food Safety, city of Berkeley, Pesticide Action Network North
America, Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, Beyond Pesticides, Californians for Pesticide Reform,
and Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment. The plaintiffs are
represented by Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, along with ATA
Safe Alternatives for our Forest
Environment was organized in 1979 in response to massive pesticide
spraying on public and private timberlands in Trinity County. S.A.F.E.
was formed to promote alternatives to pesticide spraying. S.A.F.E. is
involved in advocating and informing the public about environmentally
sound forest management. S.A.F.E. is a member of the Trinity
Collaborative effort. Find it online at http://safealt.org/.
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