in the KNOW

January 13, 2012

Department of Pesticide Regulation Update

Court Hears Methyl Iodide Lawsuit

A Superior Court in Alameda heard testimony this week in the lawsuit filed by environmental and farmworker organizations against the state regulator and the manufacturer of methyl iodide, which is used as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control plant pathogens, nematodes, insects and weeds.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit because they believe methyl iodide was approved by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) using bad science and that it causes serious health problems.

DPR approved the fumigant for use in December 2010 with the most stringent restrictions in the nation. It is licensed for use in 47 states and is approved for restrictive uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Among other issues, the court is looking at whether DPR considered alternatives to methyl iodide, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). DPR has one week to respond to the court’s request for a brief detailing why DPR is not required to abide by CEQA. Environmental attorneys also have a week to respond before a ruling is issued in the case as to whether DPR violated state law when it approved methyl iodide.

Click here for a related San Francisco Chronicle article.

Pest Management Alliance Grant Process Now Open at DPR

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is now accepting applications for projects using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to lower pesticide use. A total of $400,000, per project, is available in Pest Management Alliance funding for 2012-2013.

DPR requests that projects focus on implementation of agricultural or urban IPM practices reducing risks to human health and the environment. A key element needed in the approved projects is the creation of an alliance, essentially a team of individuals representing public, private, agricultural, educational and other stakeholders involved in the adoption of the IPM effort.

The grant application is a two-stage process. Brief conceptual descriptions of projects are due February 6, 2012. Applicants whose concepts are highly ranked in the first stage will be invited to submit a full proposal by April 5, 2012.

Click here for the Pest Management Grant Solicitation link. Contact Ann Schaffner at DPR for further information at (916) 324-4156 or email at aschaffner@cdpr.ca.gov.



Pesticide Measure Stalls in Assembly Committee

A state bill to add new requirements to increase public access to pesticide information and to create a two-year time limit for the adoption of pesticide control measures for pesticides deemed Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs) or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP-TAC) was not approved in the Assembly Agriculture Committee this week.

The measure, AB 1176, is authored by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara). The author believes the bill addresses existing delays in the adoption of control measures at the Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) voted against the bill, along with Republican members of the Committee. Due to a 4-4 vote, the measure did not move out of Committee.


Upcoming Ag Council Events

Columnist Dan Walters to Speak at Ag Council Breakfast at World Ag Expo

Ag Council members and prospective members are invited to breakfast at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA on February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. in the Hospitality Event Center tent (located at Median and S Streets on the Expo showgrounds).

Ag Council’s breakfast will feature journalist and columnist, Dan Walters, as the keynote speaker. We encourage you to attend this exciting event as Ag Council kicks off 2012.

There is no charge for the breakfast. RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email Rebecca Osumi at rebecca@agcouncil.org if you’d like to attend.

Registration Now Open for Ag Council’s Annual Meeting March 5-7

Ag Council members, allied members and friends are encouraged to register online for our 93rd Annual Meeting to be held March 5-7, 2012 in beautiful La Jolla, California at the Estancia Hotel and Spa. We have an exciting line-up for the General Session this year.

Highlights include former Senator George Runner, Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE), who will discuss opportunities for agriculture to work with BOE. In addition, Charlie Arnot, CEO at the Center for Food Integrity, will discuss recent consumer research completed in California focusing on how consumers look at our food system.

Ag Council’s annual meeting and golf tournament are held jointly with CoBank’s 2012 Pacific West Customer Meeting. We encourage you to join us in La Jolla. Click here to register online now.