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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Oregon' Category


01
Jul

Maui County Moves Forward with GE Moratorium Initiative

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2014) Early last month, Maui County residents gathered enough signatures to require a county-wide vote on legislation that will put in place a moratorium on the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops. This achievement represents the first ever citizen driven initiative in Maui County, which encompasses Maui, Molokai and Lanai islands. The petition drive was spearheaded by the SHAKA (Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina) Movement, a grassroots campaign that is “preserving paradise for future generation by reclaiming, restoring and revitalizing depleted soil, and growing healthy foods without a dependence on chemicals,” according to Mark Sheehan, a spokesman for the group. Maui’s citizen initiative is part of a growing movement on the Hawaiian Islands that seeks to protect health and the environment while strengthening local food economies and resiliency. Residents living on the Hawaiian Islands are subject to a particularly pronounced form of environmental assault, as the state’s premiere growing conditions have made it a prime target for agrichemical companies to test new, experimental forms of GE crops. Data released earlier this year reveals that high levels of restricted use pesticides, in some cases almost double the pounds per acre average of other […]

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25
Jun

Scientists Call for Global Action with Release of “Worldwide Assessment” of Bee-Harming Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2014) Following last week’s celebration of “National Pollinator Week” and a presidential memorandum mandating federal action on bees, the first wide-scale scientific analysis has been released that links  two classes of pesticides  to declining bee populations. Twenty-nine scientists representing many disciplines reviewed over 800 peer-reviewed publications  on the impacts of systemic pesticides, and are recommending  more restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides. This report is the single most comprehensive study of  neonicotinoids ever  undertaken. The “Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA)” ”” undertaken by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides ”” documents significant harms to bees and ecosystems. While some aspects of this report have been broadly acknowledged  before (e.g. risks to honey bees), some, including risks to earthworms, birds and aquatic invertebrates, have not. The analysis focuses not only on impacts to particular  organisms and habitats, but also on  biodiversity and ecosystem impacts, taking a holistic view of pesticide effects. The scientists are calling for new, dramatic restrictions on bee-harming pesticides in the United States and beyond. The report  finds that the current regulatory system has failed to consider the full  range of pesticide effects. “This report should be a final wake up call for American regulators who have […]

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23
Jun

As President Mandates Pollinator Protection, EPA Lags Behind Science

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2014) During the close of National Pollinator Week, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum on pollinator health to the heads of federal agencies requiring action to “reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels.” The President is directing agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, and to develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy, including a Pollinator Research Action Plan. Beyond Pesticides applauds this announcement and action that recognizes and elevates the plight of pollinators in the U.S. Download the Press Release. Friday, June 20, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that recognizes the severe losses in the populations of the nation’s pollinators, including honey bees, wild bees, monarch butterflies, and others. In accordance with these losses and acknowledging the importance pollinators have to the agricultural economy, the Memorandum directs federal agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, to be chaired by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days, and support and create pollinator habitat. This federal strategy will include a pollinator research action plan, with a focus on preventing and recovering from pollinator losses, including studying how various stressors, like pesticides, pathogens, and […]

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20
Jun

Spokane to Vote on Monday to Ban Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2014) The city of Spokane, Washington is inching ever closer to a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of chemicals that has been linked to the global disappearance of honey bee populations. If the ban passes, Spokane will soon be part of a growing movement to protect pollinators. The Spokane City Council will be voting on the neonicotinoid ordinance this Monday, June 23. The ban will halt both the purchase and use by the city of products that contain neonicotinoids. The ordinance specifically names six types of neonicotinoids used on crops, imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, and thiacloprid, and explains that the majority of these chemicals “are highly toxic to bees, can reduced [sic] fecundity, depress the bees immune system, and increase susceptibility to biological infections, and, depending on the amount of exposure, can be lethal/ sub-lethal to the honey bees.” You can read more about the exact wording of this proposed ordinance here. Council President Ben Stuckart, who introduced the ordinance, wants the city to stop using the chemicals on its properties. The ban would be part of an undertaking to implement environmentally sustainable initiatives at City Hall. The ordinance would affect all city departments […]

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11
Jun

Vermont Prepared for Challenges to GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2014) Vermont is currently gearing up to defend against possible litigation its groundbreaking law to label genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients. The law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, was specially written so that it created  the Food Fight Fund that allows individuals to donate to defend the law if it were to be challenged in court. The Vermont law and polling data  show that consumers strongly want to know what is going into their food and are willing to stand up to industries that do not want consumers to have this right. As of the first week of June, the  Food Fight Fund raised just over $15,000, with over $$9,000 of it coming from outside the state. Most of the donations come in small amounts of less than $50, which is indicative of the grassroots structure of the GE labeling movement. The fund will be the initial money used by the Vermont attorney general’s office if the state’s GE labeling law is challenged in court. Currently, the $15,000 is not  enough funds to cover legal fees to  defend this law. Lawsuits brought against the state, according to testimony by Assistant Attorney […]

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23
May

Oregon Counties Ban Planting of Genetically Engineered Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2014) Residents in two Oregon counties, Jackson and Josephine, voted to ban the cultivation, production, and distribution of genetically engineered (GE) crops within the counties’ borders Tuesday.  The Jackson County measure 15-119, passed with 66 percent of the vote, while Josephine County passed with 58 percent. As noted by Reuters, the newly approved measures mandate that people “harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants” no later than 12 months after the ordinances go into effect. This is great news for farmers of organic and non-genetically engineered crops, who constantly struggle with the threat of GE contamination. Though there are less than 120,000 registered voters in Jackson County, the measure gained national attention due to the fact that opponents raised over $830,000 to advertise againstthe measure, with over 97% of the funding coming in from outside of the county, including over $450,000 from biotech giant Monsanto and five other corporations to defeat the initiative. For comparison, the previous county spending record on a ballot initiative was $111,000. “We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won,” Elise Higley, a Jackson County farmer and representative from  Our Family Farms Coalition told […]

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13
May

Fish and Wildlife Service Adopts Biological Mosquito Management

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2014) After pressure from environmental organizations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) dropped plans to spray the synthetic insecticide methoprene in favor of a biological control material  to kill mosquitoes breeding on a national wildlife refuge on the southern Oregon Coast. Several states have banned methoprene due to the chemical’s environmental impacts. The unfolding of this decision illustrates that least-toxic alternatives to manage mosquitos are effective and much safer for the environment. A major restoration at the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in 2011 inadvertently created a number of shallow water pools, a perfect habitat for mosquito larvae. Unprecedented swarms of mosquitoes appeared last year, which drove away campers from Bullards Beach State Park and harassed golfers at local courses. FWS did not take into account that this restoration project could create mosquito habitat and initially released a plan to manage mosquitos with methoprene and mineral oil. The insect conservation group Xerces Society, the Center for Food Safety, and others urged the agency to reconsider, arguing the pesticides were a threat to the food chain and the mosquitoes, Aedes dorsalis, did not spread human diseases such as West Nile virus. In a supplemental environmental assessment […]

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08
May

Elevated Levels of Glyphosate in U.S. Mothers’ Breast Milk

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2014) – Two citizen groups have taken the initial step toward debunking chemical-industry claims that glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide, does not bioaccumulate or metabolize in humans. The pilot study, conducted by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse, looked at ten breast-milk samples and 35 urine samples from across America and 21 drinking water samples. The groups commissioned Microbe Inotech Labs to conduct the analysis, and what they found raises some serious questions about the prevalence and persistence of glyphosate. In breast milk, three of the ten samples tested reveal high levels of glyphosate, meaning that the amount of glyphosate found  is between 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l. The highest glyphosate level detected in a mother is from Florida (166 ug/l) and the other two mothers with “positive” results are from Virginia (76 ug/l) and Oregon (99 ug/l). While these levels fall under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 700 ug/l, across the pond in Europe this range of exposure is 1,000 higher than what is deemed safe. From the 35 urine samples received from across the U.S., 13 samples are above the minimum detectable level. The three […]

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25
Apr

Multiple Accounts of Honey Bee Death and Damage Continue

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) Reports of honey bee deaths have been emerging around the nation: from bee deaths in California’s almond groves and ”˜mysterious’ road-side bee deaths in Oregon, to astronomical overwintering losses in Ohio. The reports are intensifying the ecological crises of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ””a phenomenon typified by the mass abandonment of hives and bee die-off. CCD poses significant issues for many agricultural crops, such as almonds, apples, cherries and blueberries, that are almost completely reliant on honey bees for their pollination services. In California, a total of 80,000 dead or damaged bee hives were reported after pollinating almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley, a region that is known for its agricultural productivity. Beekeepers have pointed to pesticides as the primary culprit. Almond pollination in California requires an army of 1,300 commercial beekeepers from around the nation. However, this year beekeepers have seen higher damages to hives than usual. Damage to the honey bee hives this spring has been so pronounced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened an impromptu meeting with beekeepers in Los Banos, California. The meeting brought together 75 beekeepers who testified that 75 percent of their hives showed severe damage […]

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10
Apr

Pesticide Law Violations Uncovered in Oregon Timberland Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2014) — The results of an on-going investigation into allegations of improper pesticide spraying on timberland near residential areas in Southern Oregon confirmed what residents of the small towns had known since the day they were unwillingly sprayed with dangerous pesticides””the applications were illegal. Statements released on April 8, 2014, by Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) concerning its investigation into the allegations, indicated multiple violations by the pesticide operator and applicator responsible for the spraying had been found, as well as evidence of the presence of pesticides on properties in Cedar Valley, near Gold Beach, Oregon. Specifically, ODA concluded that Pacific Air Research — a licensed commercial pesticide operator based in White City, Oregon— and its aerial applicator, allowed pesticide products to fall on properties other than the intended application site, applied one product at a rate above the maximum allowed by the label instructions, and provided multiple false records that misled ODA about the actual products used. The confirmed pesticides at issue, 2,4-D and triclopyr, are a serious matter, exacerbated by spray applications  in excess of pesticide label restrictions and other regulations. Under the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the nation’s primary pesticide […]

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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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07
Apr

With Big Money, Industry Fights County Ordinance to Ban GE Crop Planting

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2014) A recent report by The Oregonian found that enormous amounts of money are being spent by agrichemical and biotechnology companies in  one Oregon  county to stop an ordinance that would ban farmers from being able to plant genetically engineered (GE) Crops. This current legislative fight encapsulates the uphill funding battle that anti-GE activists face when organizing state and local level campaigns. The ordinance that will appear on the upcoming May ballot in Jackson County, Oregon will ban the planting and rising of GE plants within the county. The ordinance also calls for the county to conduct inspections and allows enforcement through citizen lawsuits. Jackson County was the only county exempt from a law enacted last fall that made the state the regulator of agricultural seeds. The county’s measure qualified for the May ballot before the Oregon Senate passed S.B. 863, which preempts localities ability to regulate seed, so it was exempted in the bill. The bill preempts efforts the efforts in Benton and Lane counties to restrict GE agriculture. Despite state preemption, Josephine County has a similar measure on the May ballot to ban GE crops. According to a recent report in The Oregonian, the […]

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31
Mar

Timberland Pesticide Spray Investigation Records Ordered Released in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2014) On March 24 the Oregon Department of Justice (ODJ) ordered the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to turn over records that are part of an investigation of an aerial herbicide spraying over timberland in southwestern Oregon. This public disclosure of records may allow residents to have a better understanding of the chemicals associated with ongoing exposure incidents.  This recent spray event is just one in line of many that have led environmental groups and federal agencies to call into question the effectiveness of Oregon’s regulation of pesticide use on timberland. ODA began its investigation in November of 2013 after complaints that herbicides sprayed from a helicopter on commercial timberlands near Gold Beach drifted on to residential areas. ODA is investigating five herbicide active ingredients: 2,4-D, triclopyr, glyphosate, imazapyr, and  metsulfuron methyl.  However, ODA has not released information about the specific products it believes were used or their potential toxicity. Fifteen residents filed complaints with the department after they experienced rashes, headaches, asthma, and stomach cramps directly after the application. Recently, the Oregon Department of Justice ordered ODA to turn over records that are part of an investigation after the agency denied a request made in […]

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05
Mar

Community Passes Resolution Banning Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2014) The City of Eugene, Oregon became the first community in the nation to specifically ban from city property the use of  neonicotinoid pesticides, which have scientifically linked to the decline of honey bee colonies.  The passage of the resolution came just one week after the Oregon state legislature passed a pollinator protection  bill that removed language requiring the restriction of neonicotinoid pesticides, and includes instead a weaker requirement to set up a task force that will examine the possibility of future restrictions. In addition to neonicotinoid restrictions, the City’s resolution also expands Eugene’s pesticide-free parks program and now requires all departments to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) standards. The Eugene City Council action was taken unanimously on February 26 with the passage of  Council Resolution,   “Enhancing Current Integrated Pest Management in Parks,”  Resolution 5101. The resolution also includes clear goals on children’s health,  expands the current Parks and Open Space Division’s  Pesticide-Free Parks program from 10 to potentially 40 parks, and requires IPM on all city property. The resolution notes that “children and infants may be especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides for several reasons: (a) their internal organs are still developing […]

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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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14
Feb

Oregon Bill to Restrict Bee-Killing Pesticides Gutted

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2014) Legislation in Oregon that would have banned the use of four neonicotinoid pesticides for home and garden uses has been severely gutted, following push back from agricultural and nursery interests. The legislative panel will instead propose creating a much weaker requirement to set up a task force that will only examine the possibility of future restrictions. The original bill language would have added neonicotinoid pesticides dinotefuran, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam to Oregon’s list of restricted pesticides, which can only be applied by licensed pesticide applicators. However, the bill has now been drastically amended  after consultation with scientists, nursery and agriculture interests, and environmental groups, said bill sponsor Representative Jeff Reardon (D-Portland) to the House committee. “The Oregon Legislature should be ashamed of itself for its failure to act on the face of this clear ecological crisis,” said beekeeper and activist Tom Theobald. “The change to restricted use was a step in the right direction, a small step, but a step,” he continued, voicing his disappointment. The original bill, HB4139, was introduced by Rep. Reardon earlier this year in response to several bee-kill incidents in Oregon last summer, including one that killed more than 50,000 bumblebees […]

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31
Jan

Featured Keynote: “Maverick” Scientist to Speak at National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2014) Michael Skinner, Ph.D.,  author of the landmark study that links exposure to the insecticide DDT with multi-generational effects, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line, is joining an impressive array of speakers at Beyond Pesticides’ 32nd National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12 in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Skinner’s groundbreaking research on transgenerational effects of pesticides has created quite a stir within the scientific community and backlash from the industry. A professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, Dr. Skinner has published over 240 peer-reviewed publications and has given over 237 invited symposia, plenary lectures and university seminars. His  research focuses on the investigation of gonadal growth and differentiation, with emphasis in the area of reproductive biology. His current research has demonstrated the ability of environmental toxicants to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease phenotypes due to abnormal germ line epigenetic programming in gonadal development. Science Magazine has dubbed Dr. Skinner “The Epigenetics Heretic.” The article, published January 24, explores the controversy surrounding his recent findings, industry challenges to his research,  as well as the significance: “To those who don’t flatly dismiss Skinner’s findings, he has raised a tantalizing glimpse of […]

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23
Jan

Oregon Group Uses Mushrooms for Bioremediation

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2014) Putting ideas into action, an Oregon-based restoration nonprofit group, Ocean Blue Project, is harnessing the power of mushrooms to clean up pesticides and other pollutants that plague Oregon and national waterways. Yes, mushrooms. The test project launched Sunday, January 19 on the banks of Sequoia Creek, a tributary to the Willamette River. Using recycled burlap bags filled with used coffee grounds, straw, and yellow oyster mushroom spawn, the purpose of the unusual potpourri will be to harness the extremely effective filtering capabilities of mycelium. A kind of root system for fungi, mycelium demonstrate a wide variety of biological powers, from breaking down oil, pesticides, and harmful bacteria to acting as natural pesticides against some of the most problematic pests. Paul Stamets, a leading expert on the power of mushrooms and former speaker at Beyond Pesticides’ National Pesticide Forum in 2006, has a word for the natural properties of fungi to fight human-made pollution: mycorestoration. As Mr. Stamets explained to Discover Magazine in 2013, “Oyster mushrooms, for example, can digest the complex hydrocarbons in wood, so they can also be used to break down petroleum byproducts. Garden Giants use their mycelia to trap and eat bacteria, […]

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13
Jan

With Legalization of Marijuana, Chemical-Intensive Production Practices Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2013) As medical and recreational production of marijuana in the U.S. increases, new and complicated questions have risen over how to limit consumers’ exposure to pesticides through marijuana consumption. Many growers are facing limited institutional knowledge and economic forces that could lead to the unnecessary use of pesticides. States are also still wrestling with the adequate  regulation of production and testing practices. Exposure to pesticides from marijuana consumption may also be more harmful than exposure through food consumption when consumed through inhalation. As marijuana consumption becomes more widely legalized, many are calling for  stronger safety standards for marijuana production. Alan Schreiber, Ph.D., President of the Agriculture Development Group, believes that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington will lead to immense demand for pest prevention research. Currently, growers of marijuana lack institutional assistance from federal agencies or state agricultural extension services, which have limited understanding of marijuana production. There is a concern that the lack of  field research and increased demand may lead to heavy pesticide use. In Washington, the state will allow the equivalent of 46 acres to be grown for recreational use, a factor that Dr.. Schreiber says will drive most […]

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07
Jan

Oregon Legislation To Restrict Home Use of Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2014) An Oregon state representative, Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Portland), plans to introduce legislation in February that will effectively ban for home and garden use  certain neonicotinoid pesticides implicated in mass bee deaths this  summer. This legislation is part of the growing national effort to ban or restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Last year, the Save America’s Pollinators Act was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to ban the use of neonicotinoids nationally. Rep. Reardon’s legislation would add neonicotinoid pesticides dinotefuran, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam to Oregon’s restricted pesticide use list. Under Oregon’s pesticide administrative rules,restricted use pesticides can only be applied by licensed pesticide applicators. Pesticide dealers are also required  to keep records of product sales of these pesticides and maintain sales records for at least three years. The legislation would also require the state to implement special training and testing to ensure licensed pesticide applicators know how to minimize risk to   pollinators. “These are dangerous chemicals. People who aren’t willing to take the time and effort to become fully educated should look for alternatives,” Rep. Reardon told The Oregonian. Though this legislation would limit the amount of neonicotinoid pesticides directly applied to lawns […]

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23
Dec

Fed To Require Strengthened State Protection from Nonpoint Pesticide Pollution

Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2013) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  in a  Federal Register notice  has found that the state of Oregon’s program to reduce nonpoint coastal pollution is inadequate. Both federal agencies state that Oregon’s program does not adequately protect streams that provide habitat for Coho Salmon, an endangered species, and drinking water from herbicides that are aerially sprayed by lumber companies. This notice comes just after a recent report was released by Beyond Toxics on the health and environmental problems caused by aerial herbicide application on timber forests near Triangle Lake. EPA and NOAA’s proposed disapproval action of Oregon’s Coastal Nonpoint Program finds that the state has failed to adequately protect certain waterways within the state. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) of 1990, states are required to submit an approvable Costal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program to NOAA and EPA. In 1998, federal agencies approved the Oregon Nonpoint Program with conditions that the state meet certain water pollution issues. This proposed disapproval action is part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Environmental Advocates in 2009, which charged Oregon has failed to meet the conditions […]

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25
Nov

Oregon Restricts Some Neonicotinoid Pesticide Uses after Bee Kills

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2013) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has restricted two pesticide products linked to massive bee die offs experienced in Oregon earlier this year. Both pesticides are neonicotinoid chemicals that are extremely harmful to bees. Though these restrictions are an important step in protecting bee health, the new rules will still not limit all of the uses of these chemicals that can harm pollinators. ODA placed restrictions on dinotefuran and imidacloprid, banning their use  on linden trees, basswood and other trees of the Tilia genus. Pesticide products that contain these active ingredients are now required to have Oregon-specific labels. This is only the second time in the past ten years that ODA has regulated pesticides more strictly than federal standards. These new restriction comes after ODA adopted a temporary rule in June that limited the use of 18 pesticide products that contained diontefuran. That rule was set to expire next month. States and local jurisdictions  have authority under the nation’s pesticide registration law, the  Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), to adopt more stringent pesticide use restrictions than the federal government. However, after the U.S.  Congress rejected proposals to preempt local authority and the Supreme […]

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07
Oct

Oregon Passes Bill to Limit GE Oversight

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2013) A controversial agriculture bill that would bar counties in Oregon from regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops has passed in the state legislature to the dismay of many organic and environmental groups. Senate Bill 863 also includes an emergency clause, which would allow the bill to go into effect immediately, precluding opponents from referring the bill to voters. The Oregon Senate passed S.B. 863 17-12 last week after three-days of a special session to debate a controversial five-bill package. S.B. 863 declares that “regulation of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed and products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed be reserved to the state, thereby preempting   local governments from adopting any of their own GE policies.” The bill precludes efforts in Benton and Lane counties to restrict GE agriculture, but excludes Jackson County, which already has a GE ban up for vote. This GE bill is part of a package of five bills aimed at giving schools more money, freezing college tuition, and reining in escalating costs of the public pension system. Environmental groups and local food activists are upset that the provision sailed through the state’s legislature. […]

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