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Daily News Blog

10
Nov

Election Results Highlight Critical Need for Environmental Resolve

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2016) In the wake of the monumental decision to elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Beyond Pesticides’ work to protect public health and the environment is more critical than ever. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016  saw Mr. Trump prevail in winning the presidency, and Republicans hold on to their majorities in both the U.S. House and the Senate. In the coming months, the President-elect will deliberate on  cabinet appointments, which will impact pesticide and agriculture policy and the laws and regulations that have the capacity to protect citizens from the harmful effects of chemical intensive practices.

According to an article in Scientific American, Donald Trump may  select Myron Ebell, “one of the best-known climate skeptics” and director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to lead his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team. This represents a  blow to  the environmental movement, which has been building momentum to fight global climate change, transition to organic agricultural systems, and protect the public from the threat of corporate mergers that threaten farmers, rural communities, and consumers. Despite having few details on environmental policy, it is trumpclear from Donald Trump’s campaign speeches and the information available on his website that protecting the environment and public health is not high on his list of priorities.

At an August 2016 event in Des Moines, Iowa, Mr. Trump stated that, “We are going to end the EPA intrusion into your family homes and into your family farms for no reason. We are going to get rid of a lot of those regulations that don’t mean anything except cost you a lot of money and a lot of time and, in many cases, you lose your farms over the regulations.”

Mr. Trump has also said that he will request a “top-down review” of the Endangered Species Act, as he believes it is “a tool to block economic development, deny property rights to American landowners, and enrich activist groups and lawyers.” The Endangered Species Act, which recently listed seven bee species, is a crucial law that conserves plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found, which are constantly under attack from chemical intensive agriculture.

In addition to the results of the Presidential and Congressional races, several states have voted to legalize marijuana in various capacities. Medical marijuana initiatives were approved in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota, and recreational marijuana initiatives were approved in Massachusetts, Nevada, and California. As states continue to legalize the production of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, regulations governing its cultivation may allow the application of pesticides untested for use in the plant’s production, raising safety issues for patients and consumers. In the absence of federal regulations governing pesticides in cannabis production, the use of pesticides not registered by EPA is understood to be illegal. Several states, including New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, have codified this understanding by adopting policies that prohibit all federally registered pesticides. Other states have taken the position that state policy is unnecessary, since EPA, due to cannabis’ narcotic status by the federal government, has not registered any pesticides for marijuana production and unregistered pesticide use is illegal. As more states legalize marijuana use, it is crucial that any new growing standards reflect a systems-based organic approach.

As  Administrator of the EPA, Gina McGarthy,  said  during her presentation to Montgomery County, Maryland in April 2016, national change starts at the local level. There is movement across the country to adopt ordinances that stop pesticide use on public property and, where allowed, private property. The passage of the ordinance in South Portland to ban lawn pesticides is similar to those passed in the town of  Ogunquit, ME,  and  Takoma Park  and  Montgomery County, MD. The legislatures  of  Connecticut and Maryland  passed laws this year that restrict the retail sale of  products containing  neonicotinoid pesticides. And,  the Governor  of Minnesota recently  issued an executive order restricting neonicotinoid use, while  numerous municipalities  across the country  have taken similar step to stop use on their properties.

Our work is at the heart of an organic transformation that crosses issues of clean air and water, healthy food, and soil practices that build organic matter, sequesters carbon, and slows climate change. The adoption of organic methods, particularly no-till organic, is an opportunity for farming both to mitigate agriculture’s contributions to climate change and cope with the effects climate change has had and will have on agriculture. In 2014, Rodale Institute  published a white paper that explains  it is possible to sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions by switching to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices.

Beyond Pesticides will continue to fight for the future of the planet, by supporting and advocating for organic land management, holding federal agencies accountable to their defined duties, and engaging with local communities to pass progressive pesticide initiatives that are protective of environmental and public health. For more information on what you can do, visit our Action Alerts sign-up page, read about Tools for Change to use in your local community, and consider becoming a member today.

Source: Politico, Scientific American

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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2 Responses to “Election Results Highlight Critical Need for Environmental Resolve”

  1. 1
    A. Brown Says:

    Although he did not fully voice his concern for the environment during his campaign, President Elect Trump certainly does realize that we have a serious problem on our hands. I did my research before I voted for him. Not only does he eat organically grown food, but I can’t imagine that his huge family doesn’t follow suit. He has made several statements about certain large corporations chemical products affecting the public and the environment. Granted, these statements did not make the front page or the nightly news, but I personally believe he will put the right people in charge for the country’s best interests. This is the first time I have heard anything contrary to my belief in him. I truly hope and pray, and believe, this is a mistake. As a disabled veteran and a citizen deeply concerned about our children’s future, I thought hard about my vote. I could not bring myself to vote for the opposition, who is not qualified to be commander in chief for several reasons and I believe Mr Trump has the country’s best interests at heart. Again, I’m deeply concerned about this report and desperately hope you are wrong.

  2. 2
    A. Black Says:

    To say that a woman who has spent more than a decade working for the federal government is less qualified to be commander in chief than a man who has never held any government or military job is sad.

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