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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Environmental Justice' Category


24
Sep

Bayer Fined $5.6 Million for 2008 Factory Explosion

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2015) Seven years after an explosion that killed two factory workers in Institute, West Virginia, Bayer CropScience is facing federal fines. Bayer is the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $5.6 million settlement with Bayer to resolve the 2008 violation of federal chemical  accident prevention laws. As a result, Bayer must commit to spending $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and institute response  measures to protect the Kanawha River, pay a $975,000 penalty, and spend approximately $452,000 to implement a series of reforms to improve safety at chemical storage facilities across the United States. On August 28, 2008, a pesticide waste tank exploded inside the Bayer plant, instantly killing one worker and sending another to the hospital where he would eventually die. Although Bayer officials assure the public that the explosion was secure and released no chemicals, residents living near the plant complained of air pollution exposure and related illnesses. The tank contained waste products from thiodicarb, including methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), hexane, methomyl, and dimethyl disulfide, all of which are acutely toxic […]

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13
Aug

Court Ordered Deadline Mandates EPA Action on Toxic Insecticide Dursban

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2015) On Monday, a federal appeals court judge mandated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) respond to a petition filed nearly nine years ago that seeks  to force the agency to restrict  the dangerous insecticide  chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate also known as Dursban). U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown,  delivered her opinion on August 10, stating that federal agencies should never practice the “venerable tradition” of putting off statutory requirements  when it comes to human health. The court issued the opinion and order in a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and gives EPA until October 31 to finally respond to the petition requesting to ban chlorpyrifos. EPA took a tentative step towards further regulating chlorpyrifos in a July 2015 announcement to ban remaining agricultural uses by April 2016 date. Unhappy with the uncertainty that EPA delivered, the court felt that a mandated deadline would expedite the process. On June 8, 2000, EPA administrator Carol Browner announced a voluntary agreement between the agency and industry leaders, including Dow AgroSciences, to ban all home and garden uses of Dursban, which […]

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06
Aug

California Fines Six Firms for Repeated Pesticide-Tainted Crop Violations

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2015) On July 28, the California Department of Pesticide (DPR) released a statement announcing recent sanctions for six California import firms who repeatedly violated pesticide regulations. Since December of last year, these six firms have been selling imported products that have been tainted with pesticides not approved for production or sale in the United States, including DDE, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, and the long-banned endosulfan. The fines range from $10,000 to $21,000. The six firms responsible for selling fruits and vegetables containing illegal pesticide residues are: Top Quality Produce, Inc. 623 Vineland Avenue, La Puente, CA 91746 will pay $10,000. On 5 separate occasions, the company sold produce such as Longan imported from Thailand, Burdock Root imported from Taiwan and Lychees imported from China with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between November 2013 and July 2014. Yi Bao Produce Group, 3015 Leonis Blvd, Vernon CA 90058, will pay $15,000. On 7 separate occasions, the company sold produce imported from China such as Ginger, Taro Root, Longan and Fragrant Pear with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between March 2013 and September 2014. Primary Export International Inc. 143 Mitchell Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080, will […]

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25
Jun

Atrazine and Glyphosate To Be Analyzed by EPA for Impacts on 1,500 Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2015) The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it will analyze the effects of two of the most commonly used pesticides in the United States, glyphosate and atrazine, along with atrazine chemical-cousins propazine and simazine, for their impacts on 1,500 endangered plants and animals. The announcement marks an agreement between EPA and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on a proposed settlement amending a 2010 court order that  established a schedule to complete effects determinations for 75 chemicals on 11 species in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area. According to EPA, 59 of the 75 pesticides have been evaluated and subject to  effects determinations, however for the remaining 16 pesticides, EPA and CBD agreed that it would be more efficient and environmentally significant to complete nationwide effects determinations, rather than limit their focus to the SF bay area listed species. The agency has committed to completing the assessments by June 2020. The initial lawsuit was filed by CBD in May 2007 against EPA for violating the Endangered Species Act by registering and allowing the use of scores of toxic pesticides in habitats for 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species without determining whether the chemicals […]

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18
Jun

Bee Pollination Important to Biodiversity, Not Just Ecosystem Services

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2015) A major international study on bee pollination involving 58 researchers finds that astonishingly few bee species are responsible for pollinating crops worldwide, and offers compelling economic rationale for conserving wild bees. The study, published in Nature Communications, calculates that the value of wild bee pollination to the global food system at $3,000 per hectare of insect-pollinated agricultural land, a number in the billions globally. However, research also indicates that just two percent of wild bee species pollinate 80 percent of bee-pollinated crops worldwide. While the study shows that contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, researchers warn that conserving the biological diversity of bees requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments. “Rare and threatened species may play a less significant role economically than common species, but this does not mean their protection is less important,” says Professor David Kleijn, PhD of the Netherlands’ Wageningen University, who led the study. The economic benefits to people from nature —such as crop pollination, water purification, and carbon storage— are increasingly known as ecosystem services. The fact that nature provides these services has increasingly been used as a reason to protect the environment and its biodiversity. Research strongly […]

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08
Jun

Study Finds Organic Makes Sense, Both Ecologically and Economically

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2015) Organic agriculture produces higher profits for farmers while doing a better job at protecting the environment and biodiversity, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS). When factoring in the price premium organic farmers receive for their products, researchers discovered that organic farming is 22-35% more profitable than conventional growing methods. The study’s findings are a positive sign for the future of organic, which, despite its exponential growth to a $35 billion industry over the past decade, currently only comprises 5% of the U.S. food market, and 1% of U.S. cropland. Authors of the PNAS study indicate that there is a significant opportunity for growers wishing to transition to organic practices, as many of the findings assuage widely held concerns over the viability of organic. For instance, although labor costs are higher for organic crops, these expenses are offset by a decreased need for nonrenewable resources, such as the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that conventional agriculture relies upon. In fact, authors found that the breakeven point for organic farmers, 5 to 7%, is much lower than the 29 to 32% premiums often paid by consumers. This means […]

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15
May

Trust in Organic Label Suffering as USDA Undermines Organic Integrity

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2015) Why do you buy organic? Recent research by Mintel, a business research firm, reveals that Americans buy organic for different reasons. The perception that the products are healthier (72 percent) is the biggest draw, even more so than any environmental or ethical reason (69 percent). Only 29 percent of consumers recognize that organic products are highly regulated, while 51 percent believe that the organic label is an excuse to charge more. While sales of organic products are on the rise, actual consumer penetration has plateaued. With the barrage of attacks by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the organic label, it comes as no surprise that consumer skepticism remains high. Many consumer and farm organizations believe that public trust will continue to decline if USDA continues its attack on the procedures and public process that has built the organic industry to its $40 billion size. A further look into why consumers choose organic reveals that female shoppers choose products to avoid certain characteristics — 43 percent do so because they do not contain unnecessary ingredients and chemicals, and the same percentage do so to avoid food grown with pesticides. Thirty-one percent of women and […]

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14
May

With Second Highest Honey Bee Losses, Congressional Hearing Ignores Pesticide Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2015) For the first time on record, summer losses of managed honey bee colonies have exceeded winter losses, according to preliminary results of the annual survey released yesterday by the Bee Informed Partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America. This is the second highest annual loss recorded to date: beekeepers lost a total of 42.1 percent of the number of colonies managed over the last year (total annual loss, between April 2014 and April 2015), which is up from 34.2 percent for the previous year. On the same day that this survey was released, the  U.S.  House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Biotechnology and Research held a hearing on pollinator health, but failed to advance policy solutions that would protect pollinators from the unnecessary use of pesticides. “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” Keith Delaplane, PhD at the University of Georgia and one of the co-authors of the study told Phys.Org. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.” About two-thirds of the beekeepers responding to the survey […]

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12
May

Kaua’i Activists Take Fight to Syngenta’s Swiss Headquarters, Residents Win Damages from DuPont Pioneer

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2015) Last week Kaua’i County Councilmember Gary Hooser returned from agrichemical giant Syngenta’s shareholder meeting in Basel, Switzerland, where he addressed the company and its stakeholders on  the corporation’s lawsuit against the  small Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The Councilmember indicates that, although the company is unlikely to meet his request to drop its lawsuit against Ordinance 960, which generally creates buffer zones prohibiting pesticide use around schools, hospitals, and parks, the trip overall was a success. “Our main purpose was one of education and information, to tell our story in the home city of Syngenta, and we were greeted with open arms and really managed to get the word out,” Mr. Hooser said to The Garden Isle on Monday. VIDEO: See Councilmember Hooser’s speech to Syngenta: Part 1 | Part 2 (Note: Credit and thanks to Kauai activist Fern Rosenstiel for filming this video despite attempts by Syngenta to suppress her ability to do so.) In a related matter, it  was announced earlier this week that  a federal court awarded over $500,000 to 15 Kaua’i residents who launched a  lawsuit (separate from the one above) against another agrichemical company on the island, DuPont Pioneer. Residents won […]

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08
May

Groups Urge Investigation of USDA Censorship of Its Scientists

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2015) A diverse group of environmentalists, beekeepers, farm workers, and advocates, along with Beyond Pesticides, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General and the co-chairs of the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health this Tuesday, urging a thorough investigation into recent reports that USDA scientists are being harassed and censored. The letter expresses particular concern over the suppression of research related to bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides and glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, which has been linked to cancer. The White House Task Force on Pollinator Health, co-chaired by USDA, is expected to release a plan on bee protection in the near future; the more than 25 groups, which include farmers, fisheries, and food safety advocates, are concerned that the plan will lack meaningful protections if USDA’s research has been compromised. In March, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Group (PEER), an advocacy group for government researchers, filed a petition for rule-making with USDA seeking new rules to strengthen USDA’s Scientific Integrity Policy, and urging the agency to adopt best practices used in other federal agencies in order to prevent political suppression or alteration of studies. USDA adopted a new […]

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06
May

Boulder, CO Passes “Bee Safe” Resolution Restricting Use of Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2015) The City of Boulder, Colorado yesterday became the most recent locality in the U.S. to restrict the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides  on city property. The resolution moved forward primarily as a result of efforts by grassroots activists with the local organization Bee Safe Boulder, but also received strong support from city officials. “We at Bee Safe Boulder, along with city staff and elected city council members, believe that this resolution will become the go-to template for other local governments with similar aspirations in the near future,” said David Wheeler, co-founder of the local group. Under the new resolution, Boulder has committed to: Not applying neonicotinoid pesticides to city property; Encouraging “all related parties,” including county, state, and federal governments and private individuals to suspend their use of neonicotinoids until a thorough review is completed and a public health and environmental assessment can prove their safety; Seeking out plants and seeds not treated with neonicotinoids, and encouraging all businesses, homeowners, and HOAs within the city to make efforts to ensure no neonic-containing products are sold or used within the city; Engaging in efforts to educate the broader community about reducing neonicotinoid pesticides, and encouraging […]

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29
Apr

Toxic Imidacloprid To Be Sprayed on Oyster Beds in Washington Bays

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2015) Much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees but is also toxic to aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. The shellfish industry is important to the Pacific Northwest, injecting an estimated $270 million or more into the region’s economy, and providing jobs for many. Washington’s tidelands, especially those in Willapa Bay, have been particularly productive for more than 100 years. However, according to shellfish growers, the burrowing shrimp (ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis,  and mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis) undermines the industry. The creatures burrow into shellfish beds, making the beds too soft for shellfish cultivation. Their burrowing churns the tidelands into a sticky muck, smothering the oysters. After several years of deliberations and studies, Ecology identified imidacloprid as its  preferred choice for eradicating the shrimp. According to the agency, imidacloprid disrupts the burrowing shrimps’ […]

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25
Mar

New Poll Shows Americans Concerned About Bee Declines, Links to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2015) Several environmental and food safety groups released new polling data which shows the public believes bee decline issues are critical and linked to pesticide use. This comes as concerned citizens flooded the White House this week with more than 3,500 phone calls demanding action against bee-harming chemicals, ramping up pressure on the Obama administration to protect America’s imperiled pollinators. The poll released yesterday was conducted by the firm FM3 and is being distributed in anticipation of recommendations from the  White House Pollinator Health Task Force. Last year, the President charged this inter-agency task force ””led jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)”” with implementing a plan to improve the health of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinating species. According to the poll, an overwhelming majority (86%) say that honey bees and other pollinators are important to our nation’s food supply. More than half of the survey respondents (56%) consider the declining populations of honey bees and other pollinators to be a serious problem ””following only concerns around health care costs (76%) and jobs and the economy (75%), and on par with the problem of gas prices (55%). […]

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24
Mar

Yet Again, Congress Attacks Clean Water Act Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2015) Last week, to the dismay of health and environmental advocates, the House Agriculture Committee unanimously passed the latest version of the inaccurately titled “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015” (H.R. 897), which would nullify regulations that require pesticide applicators to apply for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. The legislation also amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. Generally, it means that pesticide applicators can discharge pesticides into waterways with no EPA oversight under the the standards of the CWA and the permitting process, which takes into account local conditions that are not addressed under FIFRA. The  CWA permit lets authorities know what is sprayed and when it is sprayed, so that the public may know what chemicals are used in their waterways and the potential dangers to sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Existing pesticide regulations under FIFRA do not achieve these protections and, contrary to the assertions made by supporters of the bill, most agricultural pesticide applications are exempt from […]

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20
Mar

Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide’s Use and Advance Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, Washington, DC, March 20, 2015 — A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding today concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic […]

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25
Feb

Scientists Challenge Industry Consensus that GE Foods Are ‘Safe’

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2015) The biotechnology industry behind genetically engineered (GE) foods have for years touted that their technology is safe, dismissing any attempts to challenge their science or regulate their material. However, 300 scientists, physicians and scholars assert there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GE foods and find that claims of safety are an “artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated” through various forums and media. The statement, published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe and entitled, “No scientific consensus on GMO safety,” cites a concerted effort by GE seed developers and some scientists, commentators and journalists to construct the claim that there is a “scientific consensus” on GE safety, and that debate on the topic is “over.” According to the 13-page statement, 300 independent scientists and researchers felt compelled to develop a document that offered a balanced account of the current state of dissent in this field, based on published evidence in the scientific literature, for both the interested public and the wider science community. They find that a claim of safety “”¦is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on […]

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07
May

Report Finds Numerous Schools Near Toxic Pesticide Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2014) A new report from the California Department of Public Health finds 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school. Persistent and toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and malathion are among the pesticides found to be applied near schools. The report also finds that Latino children are also more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern. The report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools In California,” released this month, looked at 2,511 schools in the 15 California counties with the highest overall use of farm pesticides in California for 2010, and finds that counties in the southern part of the Central Valley had the most schools near farms where pesticides were applied. Fresno County had the highest number of schools —131 — with pesticides applied nearby. Five percent of schools are within a quarter mile of where the highest volumes of pesticides are used: 2,635—28,979 pounds of active ingredient. Latino children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools where pesticides of concern were applied nearby. The report’s findings are being […]

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08
Apr

See You at “Advancing Sustainable Communities,” National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12, Portland, OR!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2014) With less than a week until the 2014 National Pesticide Forum, please take a moment to consider three reasons why you should attend this exciting and important event: 1. Learn from Leading Scientists and Experts: Many of the conference speakers are top leading experts in their fields, and you just aren’t exposed to these kinds of people every day. While you’re at the Forum you’ll have the opportunity to listen to them speak and interact with them during panel sessions: Longtime leader and visionary in sustainable organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann. Center for Food Safety’s leading environmental attorney George Kimbrell on genetic engineering and pollinators; Pierre Mineau, PhD, world-renowned environmental toxicologist; Cutting edge scientist on transgenerational effects of pesticide exposure, Michael Skinner, PhD; Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director for The Xerces Society; and so much more. These highlighted speakers do not diminish the importance of all the incredible speakers on the program, from lawyers, scientists, town officials, and activists, to the Beyond Pesticides’ board of directors. Check out the full program for more information. 2. Engage with Organic Land Management Practitioners: The Forum presents a unique opportunity to learn and discuss ways to tackle turf, landscape, […]

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03
Mar

Register Today! Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2014) Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices, the 32nd National Pesticide Forum, will be held April 11-12, 2014 at Portland State University, in Portland, OR. This years’ forum will focus on solutions to the decline of pollinators and other beneficials; strengthening the organic food production system; regulating and right-to-know genetically engineered food; improving farmworker protection and agricultural justice; and creating healthy buildings, schools and homes. Join top scientists, local and national activists and grassroots organizers to strategize on solutions that protect health and the environment. For more information and to register, go to www.beyondpesticides.org/forum. In addition to the program, people,  science, sharing and strategizing, you won’t want to miss the  food! Organic food and beverages will be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday, and we will have organic hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine for receptions on Friday and Saturday night. Speaker highlights include: Longtime leader in sustainable and organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann; “Maverick” Scientist Michael Skinner, Ph.D., author of the landmark study that links exposure to DDT with multi-generational effects, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line; Goat herder Lani Malmberg, who uses her heard of over 2,000 goats to manage invasive […]

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05
Dec

House Farm Bill Provision Would Make Eating Fish More Dangerous

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) It’s farm bill debate time””again. And as conferee members saddle up to the negotiation table to attempt yet another meeting of the minds before the winter recess, most of the public watching and waiting for word on a resolution are focused on issues like food stamps and milk. What most are not waiting for and has not been at the forefront of the media and public discussion concerning the pending farm bill negotiations are the small but dangerous provisions of the House bill concerning the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (expanded and overhauled  as the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate pesticides used near, over, and in water. It should be. Seeking to nullify the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA and the resulting general permit, sections 12323 and 100013 amend CWA to exclude pesticides from the law’s standards and its permitting requirements. Known as the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), CWA requires all point sources, which are discernible and discreet conveyances, to obtain either individual or general permits. Whether a point source must obtain an individual or general permit depends […]

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04
Dec

Feds Moves to Dismiss Case Seeking to Protect Children from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to uphold environmental justice protections under civil rights law. EPA previously found that Latino schools in California disproportionately suffer from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but has yet to adequately remedy these risks, prompting parents to file a civil rights complaint. The schools are near crop fields where toxic fumigants are routinely sprayed and drift off agricultural fields to the nearby community. More than a decade after Latino parents first filed a civil rights complaint with EPA detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, parents on Aug. 23, 2013 filed a lawsuit against EPA to force the agency to protect the civil rights of hundreds of Latino children. The parent say that  ongoing pesticide monitoring set up by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has not protected children from excessive exposure to pesticides.  The case argues that the Latino community did not receive due process and that EPA’s agreement with CDPR does not prevent schools from pesticide […]

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17
Oct

Community Concerns Lead to Landmark Pesticide Protections in Kauai County

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2013) Early yesterday morning, the Kauai County (Hawaii) Council ended a grueling 19-hour session by approving new protections from pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops in a 6 to 1 vote on Bill 2491. After enduring years of pesticide abuse from agrichemical giants Syngenta, Dow, DuPont Pioneer, and BASF, the residents of Kauai will finally receive simple protections they and future generations on the “Garden Isle” deserve. The legislation is a major victory for the local community, which engaged in numerous non-violent rallies and demonstrations urging the council to “Pass the Bill!” Local leaders crafted Bill 2491 in response to public outcry from residents, many of whom live, work, or have children that go to school near agricultural fields leased by chemical corporations. “The people in my community have asked for help,” said Kauai County Councilmember Gary Hooser. “People are concerned.” Many in the community assert that the passage of Bill 2491 is only the beginning of local efforts to reign in excesses and abuses of agrichemical companies operating on the island. While some of the more stringent measures in the bill were removed at a previous Committee meeting earlier this month, other aspects of the […]

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04
Sep

Parents Sue EPA for Continuing Failure to Protect Kids from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2013) More than a decade after Latino parents filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, the parents are suing the agency for its continuing failure to protect Latino  students. The schools are near crop fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. In August 2011, EPA found that California’s Latino school children suffer disproportionately from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but EPA has yet to remedy these exposures. In attempts to finally force EPA to protect civil rights of hundreds of Latino children, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE), California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., Farmworker Justice, and The City Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of the original plaintiffs, the Garcia family, and multiple generations of Latino school children who still do not have substantive protection from the EPA. In 1999, the Garcia family alleged that their children and other Latino children were being exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides at their public schools, which are directly adjacent to several strawberry fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. The complaint […]

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