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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'State/Local' Category


11
Sep

Take Action: Officials Implored To Protect Ecosystems of National Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2023) As environmental groups pursue a legal strategy to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for its failure to protect a wildlife refuge from industrial aquaculture, they are also urging the public to hold Refuge officials accountable to the Refuge Improvement Act with a write-in campaign. (See Take Action campaign below.) Earlier this year, USFWS allowed the establishment of a commercial aquaculture operation that cultivates 34 acres of non-native Pacific oysters within a 50-acre tideland parcel leased  from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The failure to fully evaluate the compatibility of this use with the purposes of the refuge raises concerns of compliance with the law governing National Wildlife Refuges throughout the country. Beyond Pesticides has said, “USFWS is willing to allow, for private profit, the industrialization of refuge lands for shellfish operations.”  Refuges are critical habitat throughout the U.S. that protect critical ecosystems. According to the lawsuit, the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge shelters a bay rich in marine life. Eelgrass beds attract brant, shorebirds feed on the tideflats, and ducks find sanctuary in the calm waters. The Refuge is a preserve and breeding ground for more than […]

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08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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05
Sep

“Legalized Poisoning of 5,500 People” Message Highlights Controversy Over Aerial Pesticide Spray in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2023) Lincoln County, Oregon  community members are fighting a plan announced by a private landowner to aerially spray 473 acres of clear-cut forest over the Beaver Creek watershed with a pesticide mixture containing carcinogenic glyphosate (commonly found in Roundup).  The aerial spraying is slated to take place approximately one mile from a water intake at Seal Rock Water District, which supplies water to 5,500 residents. Beyond the risks to human health, residents are concerned about the impacts on wildlife in the creek valley. Local advocates describe the area to include native wetland plants, birds, and fish, including the federally protected Coho Salmon and Marbled Murrelet, beaver, river otter, and roaming elk herds. Beavercreek is also a protected state natural area, where families paddle and walk along the state park marshlands.  Neighbors of Beaver Creek and the surrounding community are organizing phone banking, public art displays, and a petition urging Governor Tina Kotek to put a moratorium on the spray operation. One of the efforts displays the message “legalized poisoning of 5,500 people” through lights projected onto a basalt rock formation at Seal Rock State Park. The community has gathered over 2,000 petition signatures and over 100 […]

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30
Aug

Management of New Insect Pests Presents Safety Challenge for People and Environment: Yellow-Legged Hornets

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2023) Invasive yellow-legged hornets have been spotted near Savannah, Georgia, causing concern among agriculture officials. These hornets are known for their ability to prey on honeybees and other pollinators, and their presence in the United States is a cause for alarm. This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The hornets, which are native to Southeast Asia, have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Europe, where they have caused significant damage to bee populations. They are considered “invasive,” which means the hornet is not native and officials expect their introduction to result in economic, environmental, or health-related damage to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. In response to the sighting in Georgia, officials are taking action to eradicate the hornets before they can cause any harm to US agriculture. One of the methods being used to eradicate the hornets is the localized use of the highly toxic insecticide cypermethrin on nests. The pesticide has been registered for use in agriculture and residential pest control since the 1970s. It kills insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, […]

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25
Aug

Harmful Pollutants in Minnesota Waterways Highlights the Continuing Issue of Water Source Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2023) A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Park Service collaborative survey report finds a harmful mixture of pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, caffeine, methylparaben, algal toxins, and fecal and parasitic bacteria, in Pipestone Creek at Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, U.S.— adding to evidence of widespread pesticide contamination in waterways across the U.S. Pesticide contamination in waterways is historically commonplace. A 1998 USGS analysis revealed pesticides are commonly found in all U.S. waterways, with at least one pesticide detectable. Thousands of tons of pesticides enter rivers and streams around the US from agricultural and nonagricultural sources, which contaminate essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater. As the number of pesticides in waterways increases, it has detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystem health, especially as some pesticides work synergistically with others to increase the severity of the effect. Reports like these are significant tools for determining appropriate regulatory action to protect human, animal, and environmental health.  The survey collected water samples from Pipestone Creek, the pipestone quarries, and Winnewissa Falls, all of which are on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of impaired waters for turbidity (reduced water clarity) and fecal coliform bacteria (E. coli). Turbidity and fecal coliform […]

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17
Aug

[REFLECTION] The Lies about Maui’s Largest Wildfires: There is Nothing “Natural” about the Disaster on Maui and the Flames Fueled by Biodiversity Collapse, Climate Change, and Colonization

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2023) Governor Josh Green of Hawai’i declares the recent Maui wildfires as the largest natural disaster in the state’s history, yet advocates say the tragedy is anything but “natural.” As of Wednesday, the death toll has risen to over 100 lives lost and more than 2,200 structures in Lāhainā — the original capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom have burned to ash. With so much loss, many people are asking who is responsible and how another disaster can be prevented. The answer to who is to blame is not simple. The initial reports of the fire repeated a trope that Lāhainā is a dry area on Maui and is prone to wildfire, yet in recent days, the news stories have shifted to reveal the area’s ecological history as a wetland. Lāhainā was historically known for its aquatic landscape, with common images of boats around Waiola Church, and the Hawaiian fish pond systems. People in Hawai’i lament Lahaina’s devastation, mourning the loss of its Native Hawaiian history and culture, while also bracing for the lasting impact this tragedy might have on their communities. Kaniela Ing, the national director of the Green New Deal Network, shared his perspective in […]

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15
Aug

The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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10
Jul

Take Action: Pro-Pesticide Lobby Attacks Local Democratic Process to Protect Health and Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2023) [Editor’s note to readers: The local, democratic decision-making process to adopt restrictions on pesticide use, now under attack in Congress, has historically been critical to the protection of health and the environment when federal and state governments have failed in their responsibility. This local democratic right has not only protected communities where action is taken, but it has driven state and federal policy to do better—to do what is required in a society that cares about a sustainable future. While federal and state pesticide policy sets a floor on minimum protections and rights, there is nothing more important than nurturing the local democratic process to increase and strengthen protections that elude government agencies that are unduly influenced by the powerful chemical industry. As we face existential crises of health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency resulting from gridlock in legislative bodies that ignore the scientific facts documenting harm and solutions that are within our grasp, there is nothing more important than empowering local communities to embrace meaningful changes that eliminate pesticides and adopt organic land management practices. These changes embrace nature and ecosystem services. While the federal regulatory process is skewed toward assumptions of […]

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06
Jun

Hawaii Officials Prepare to Release Wasp as Biocontrol to Protect Coffee Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2023) Government agencies in Hawaii are making preparations to release a small parasitoid in an attempt to control infestations of coffee berry borer (CBB) in the state, according to a release published by the University of Hawaii.  “This biological control agent has the potential to make significant positive economic impacts in the Hawaiʻi coffee industry, and offers an environmentally safe way to manage CBB,” says Mark Wright, PhD, professor at UH. “The Hawaiʻi coffee industry is economically and culturally significant, and we hope that this work will improve the lives of many people associated with the industry.” The planned release comes at a time of increasing interest in nontoxic biological pest management as a means of reducing the harmful effects of industrially produced pesticides. As early as fall 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA ARS) and UH’s Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Services plan to release thousands of parasitic wasps throughout coffee growing areas in Maui, O’ahu and the Big Island. The parasitoid in question is Phymastichus coffea, a wasp that lays its eggs in the abdomen of coffee berry borers. According to researchers, the wasp becomes attracted to the coffee […]

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01
Jun

New York City Parks Dept. and Advocates Announce Organic Demonstration Sites Following Passage of Law

Eco-Friendly Parks for All (EFPA)*, a coalition of environmental, public health and political action organizations, has teamed up with Beyond Pesticides, New York City Parks and Recreation Department, and Stonyfield Organic Yogurt to celebrate the success of pilot organic land management programs at eight sites across the five boroughs. 

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22
May

Take Action: Air Contamination from Agricultural Fumigants Threatens Farmworkers and Their Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2023) Since most of the domestically produced fresh produce we eat comes from California, what happens in the state is of concern to most consumers. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has made minor adjustments to its proposal to remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment—charged with establishing safe limits of exposure and enforcing Prop 65—say is safe, highlights the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. You may have commented on this early in the year, and now we need to follow up with a strong message to protect those who harvest the nation’s food.  Tell EPA, Congress, and CDPR to cancel the registration of all toxic soil fumigants and encourage organic alternatives. 1,3-D is a pre-plant soil fumigant registered for use on soils to control nematodes. It is allowed on all crops and is often used with chloropicrin, another highly toxic […]

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17
May

Efficacy and Health Issues Stop Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in California; Florida Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17 2023) British biotechnology company Oxitec is withdrawing its application to release billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in California, according to a recent update from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The withdrawal is a victory for environmental and health campaigners concerned about the release of a novel mosquito that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously authorized under an “experimental use” permit. “Genetically engineered mosquitoes are an environmental justice issue for Tulare County residents who should not be human experiments,” said Angel Garcia, codirector of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform and Tulare County resident in a press release. “We are already impacted by some of the worst pollution problems in the state and deserve prior informed consent to being part of an open-air biopesticide experiment. Ahead of any future proposal for genetically engineered insects, DPR needs to have robust regulations in place that protect community members, and meaningful, inclusive public participation in any decision making.”     Oxitec began releasing its GE mosquitoes over a decade ago, first introducing the insects in the Brazilian town of Itaberaba. The company has made efforts to launch its mosquitoes in the United States, likely as a way […]

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16
May

Groups Announce Intent to Sue Fish and Wildlife Service Over Failure to Protect Manatees

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2023) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is set to be sued for its failure to implement strong protections for imperiled manatee populations. Earlier this month, the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Clinic, Center for Biological Diversity, Miami Waterkeeper, and engineer Frank González Garcia sent USFWS a notice of intent to sue after USFWS failed to respond to a petition sent by the groups last fall. “It has been months of agony and unjustified time lost for manatees in Puerto Rico,” said Mr. Garcia, an engineer who is concerned with the loss of natural resources. “Recent fatal accidents and unprecedented toxic water discharges aggravate the already precarious living and survival conditions of this beloved species,” Mr. Garcia said. Recent reporting has captured a dismal situation for manatee populations. The species is under threat from a range of anthropogenic impacts, from boat strikes to harmful herbicide contamination, pollution-driven red tides, and algae blooms that have destroyed seagrass beds the species rely upon. Starvation resulting from the loss of seagrass beds was the cause of death for more than 1,000 manatees in 2021, prompting wildlife officials to feed them cabbage and lettuce as a last resort to keep […]

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09
May

Colorado Limits Bee-Toxic Pesticide Use, as EPA Details Harm to Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2022) The Colorado legislature last week passed SB23-266, a bill limiting the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides in the state. The news comes as other states consider their own restrictions, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing details on exactly which endangered species are set to be harmed by the ongoing use of these harmful insecticides. This latest news shows that protecting pollinators is possible, and urgently needed given growing understanding of the dangers these chemicals pose to the most vulnerable wildlife in the country.   The Colorado bill requires the state’s commissioner of agriculture to adopt rules designating neonicotinoid pesticides as ‘limited-use’ pesticides in the state. With this designation, only licensed pesticide dealers may sell products containing these chemicals. Per the state’s legal code, the “limited-use” designation means the same as a federal “restricted-use” pesticide, which permits sales and use only for certified applicators. Passage of this bill marks an important step forward for pollinator protection efforts in the state. It will help ensure that homeowners are not able to easily purchase this product at big box retailers, but will allow continued use in residential areas and in agriculture. Colorado’s bill fulfills guidance […]

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27
Apr

Nevada Assembly Votes Unanimously To Protect Pollinators, Recognizes Deficiencies of EPA Regulations

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2023) The Nevada Assembly, by unanimous vote, took the state one step closer to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides used on plants, with a waiver for commercial agricultural purposes. Despite dramatic declines in bee populations linked to neonicotinoid pesticides and other toxic pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) and state regulatory authorities have for the most part ignored beekeepers and the independent scientific literature by allowing widespread toxic pesticide use—forcing elected officials to take protective action. Portions of the bill would take effect upon passage or no later than January 1, 2024. Maine and New Jersey have adopted similar legislation. The failure to adequately regulate pesticides under federal law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and EPA inaction is viewed by environmentalists as the shocking disregard for the importance of biodiversity to sustaining life. The inadequate restriction of pesticides and slower than necessary transition to organic land management practices are viewed as major contributors to the “insect apocalypse.” The legislation (A.B. 162), led by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow and a group of nine other Assemblymembers, illustrates a growing trend of local and state legislative bodies asserting their authority to protect against health, biodiversity, and […]

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15
Mar

Maui County, Hawai’i Leads Nation in Supporting Transition to Organic Agriculture with New Law

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2023) In a move that will improve land access for Mauiʻs organic farmers, Maui County Council passed Bill 160 (Kula Agricultural Park Phase I Expansion Area),  reserving 262 acres in the Kula Agricultural Park for practices that comply with the Organic Foods Production Act and USDA organic standards, and removing barriers in the application process in favor of emerging farmers. Councilmember Gabe Johnson, chair of the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee, sponsored the bill. “Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking system that works to nurture soil, protect water resources and biodiversity, and combat climate change,” said Mr. Johnson. “We need to create an environment that supports our farmers and agriculture economy.” Maui County currently has an operational 445 acre Agriculture Park, available for lease at the affordable rate of $100 per acre per month. All users of the current Agriculture Park practice chemical-intensive methods, making it an unsuitable area for organic farmers. In 2018, Maui County purchased an additional 262 acres to expand the Agriculture Park, and Bill 160 reserves the expansion area for organic practices, giving organic farmers the same opportunity for affordable land access. The Kula Agriculture Park expansion will be available for […]

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21
Feb

Toxic Train Derailment Raises Need for Systemic Change  

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2023) The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, should be a reminder to all of us that problems with our reliance on toxic chemicals go beyond broadcasting them on fields. In order to get pesticides to their point of use, toxic precursors and ingredients must be transported. Toxic waste products are also delivered to a location where they may be burned or deposited in a landfill. In weighing the hazards of toxic pesticides, these ancillary hazards should also be considered. Tell EPA and Congress that all impacts of toxic chemicals—from cradle to grave—must be considered before allowing their use.      The freight train that derailed February 3, 2023 in East Palestine was carrying a number of toxic chemicals. EPA notified the railroad, “EPA has spent, or is considering spending, public funds to investigate and control releases of hazardous substances or potential releases of hazardous substances at the Site. Based on information presently available to EPA, EPA has determined that Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern or “you”) may be responsible under CERCLA [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act–Superfund] for cleanup of the Site or costs EPA has incurred in cleaning up the Site.” But […]

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10
Feb

Four Pesticides Restricted to Protect Salmon, Thousands of Other Endangered Species Imperiled

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, on February 1, new measures to protect 28 endangered salmon species (including steelhead trout) from the use of four pesticides that threaten them and their critical habitats. Those compounds comprise three herbicides — metolachlor, bromoxynil, and prometryn, and one soil fumigant, 1,3-Dichloropropene. The protections, aimed at salmon populations in Washington, Oregon, and California, are meant to reduce impacts from pesticide runoff and spray drift, and to minimize potential “take.” (Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), “take” means, essentially, the unintentional harming or killing of an individual of a protected species — in this case, harm or death from exposures to these toxic pesticide compounds.) Beyond Pesticides and other advocates have for years warned that multiple pesticides are threats to Northwest salmon and other species at risk. This EPA announcement is the second of two, recently, that offer slight redress to the agency’s historical failures to act (see more below). Indeed, advocates have engaged in multiple litigation efforts over the years to try to force EPA to take action; EarthJustice in 2001 noted some early instances. As Chemical and Engineering News says pointedly, “Environmental groups, which have been suing […]

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03
Feb

With Environmental Collapse on the Horizon, California’s Sustainable Pest Management “Roadmap” Misses Mark

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2023) On January 26, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), and Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced a new “roadmap” for sustainable pest management (SPM). The plan is promoted by the agencies as an accelerator of the state’s commitment to transitioning away from “high-risk pesticides” and toward “adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices,” and to eliminating “priority [high-risk] pesticides” by 2050. Although Sustainable Pest Management: A Roadmap for California obviously recognizes the state (and federal) failure of current pesticide policies and land management practices to restrict pesticides sufficiently, advocates say that even this plan does not “meet the moment.” Its relative ambition (compared to what most states are doing), still does not, according to those advancing transformative change, adequately address the current existential health, biodiversity, and climate crises.  With these crises being especially urgent, advocates identify meaningful change as the adoption of approaches predicated on ensuring healthy soil biology. This calls for the deployment of a plan for the wholesale transition to organic systems that eliminate all materials/inputs that are harmful to soil health, ecosystems, natural resources, and the health of humans and all living organisms. The California roadmap was […]

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24
Jan

Legal Case Opens To Stop Antibiotics in Citrus and Advance Organic, Given Resistant Bacteria Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2023) Oral arguments begin this week in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. “Humanity’s dwindling supply of medically effective antibiotics is not worth sacrificing for an industry that has safer alternatives available,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “Despite the challenges, we know from the elimination of this material in organic production that we don’t need antibiotics in order to produce a glass of orange juice.”  In 2020, the Lancet published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, […]

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03
Jan

Hazardous Fumigant in Food Production Harmful to Farmworkers, Groups Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2023) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new rules that remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) say is safe and highlighting the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. While the state of California describes its action as increasing protection, advocates point to continued use, unacceptable harm, and the availability of alternative organic agricultural production methods that eliminate the use of 1,3-D. Since over a third of the country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California, most people who buy their food in a grocery store have a stake in how food is grown in the state and the impact that it has on those who live and work there. Tell the state of California, U.S. EPA, an the U.S. Congress to cancel the registration […]

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05
Dec

Time Running Out To Save the Manatees, Effort Launched to Classify Them as Endangered

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2022) A petition filed last week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) urges increased protections for the West Indian manatee after dramatic declines in its population over recent years. In 2017, USFWS downgraded the classification of the manatee from endangered—a category that broadly protects against “take,” defined as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct”—to threatened, for which an “acceptable” level of “take” is allowed. Following the downlisting of the species, manatee populations have declined dramatically. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade the Florida manatee to endangered and require protection from chemical pollution. Tell your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4946 and your Senators to introduce identical legislation. Tell Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to protect manatees. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), can live as long as 60 years, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity. Humans harm manatees directly through boat strikes and encounters with fishing equipment, canal locks, and other flood control structures, but the largest threat […]

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30
Nov

Petition Urges U.S. Fish and Wildlife to List Manatees as Endangered After Massive Declines

(Beyond Pesticides, November, 30, 2022) A petition filed last week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) urges increased protections for the West Indian manatee after dramatic declines in its population over the last several years. In 2017, the USFWS downgraded protections for the manatee, a move that was widely criticized by conservation groups as premature. That sentiment has become a reality, with nearly 2,000 manatees dying over the last two years from a range of preventable factors. West Indian manatees, a species of manatee that includes the Florida and Antillean Manatee subspecies, were first listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, at a time when there were less than 1,000 individual animals in the United States. By 2017, the number of manatees had increased to over 6,000, leading then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to downlist (downgrade) the animals from endangered to threatened under ESA. ESA works to protect species by listing them as either threatened or endangered. A species classified as endangered is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant a portion of its range and a threatened classification means the species is likely to be endangered within the foreseeable future.  Endangered species are given […]

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