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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Washington D.C.' Category


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 […]



Build the Buzz for Pollinator Week!

(Beyond Pesticides, June 13, 2014) Monday marks the beginning of a week of celebration for the irreplaceable species that pollinate one in three bites of food we eat, yet are threatened by the rampant use of pesticides in landscapes across the country. Beyond Pesticides is doing all we can to BEE Protective of honey bees and other wild pollinators, and we want to help elevate your voice, and provide you with the tools to make real change in your community that will help save the bees! Here’s the buzz on the festivities hosted by Beyond Pesticides and allies during Pollinator Week June 16th- 22nd, 2014. Kick off Pollinator Week with an Online Town Hall! Monday, June 16th at 9 p.m EST/6 p.m PST —RSVP Here! What’s the Buzz About? A conversation about bee declines, impacts on our food system and what you can do about it. Join the Berkeley Food Institute, Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, and TakePart for a lively discussion with academics, beekeepers and journalists about what’s driving the declines, what it means to our food and farming system, and what we can do about it. Join in online via Youtube! (video will not […]



Monsanto Promises Not to Sue for GE Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2013) A three-judge panel  of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Monday that a group of organic and otherwise non-GE farmer and seed company plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents after Monsanto made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently be contaminated with traces of Monsanto biotech genes. Organic farmers and others have worried for years that they will be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement if their crops get contaminated with Monsanto genetically engineered (GE) material from GE crops. Organic and non-GE farms get contaminated when pollen or seed migrate from neighboring GE farms. Even though wind or insect transfer of pollen is a natural process, Monsanto has been suing farmers for infringing on their patents if contamination is found on their farms. Monsanto’s history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers is a major source of concern for organic and non-GE agricultural producers since Monsanto’s first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-”˜90s. As of 2012, Monsanto has filed 142 alleged seed patent infringement lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small […]



Activists File Petition to Stop Pesticide Spraying in D.C.-Area National Park

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2013) A group of Washington D.C. area activist led by Alan Cohen, the president of Safe Lawns for DC Kids and Critters, and Beyond Pesticides delivered a petition to the National Park Service (NPS) that urges officials to stop the seasonal spraying of Rodeo, a glyphosat-based herbicide, to control for fig buttercup in Rock Creek Park in the DC metropolitan area. The group is asking the park to adopt an alternative weed management strategy. According to Mr. Cohen, “We are not saying they should do nothing. We should do something to manage this invasive plant, but it shouldn’t be this treatment with Rodeo.” The activist group gathered over 250 signatures to a petition that asks the park service to stop the spraying of Rodeo by canvassing in the park over several weekends and through their online petition. The group argues that spraying within 25 feet of waterways violates DC’s Pesticide Education and Revisions Act of 2012.  The group says that through this process of petitioning that they want to start a dialog between community members and the NPS on how to best manage fig butter cup. However, NPS has not been responsive to this request. The […]



Take Action: Tell D.C. Mayor Gray to Sign Pesticide Reform Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2012) The Council of the District of Columbia passed a pesticide reform act Tuesday strengthening pesticide restrictions in our nation’s capital. To ensure the rules are enacted, Beyond Pesticides is calling on supporters to take action and urge D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray to sign the legislation into law. The Pesticide Education and Amendment Control Act of 2012, introduced by Chairwoman Mary Cheh of the Environment, Transportation and Public Works Committee, is a step forward in the fight to keep schools and other public spaces free from unnecessary chemical applications. The bill protects children and their parents by restricting the application of pesticides at schools and day care centers, on public property, and near waterways. It also establishes publicly available courses on pesticides at the University of the District of Columbia. The passage of this Act adds to the growing movement across the country calling for increased restrictions on the use of dangerous chemicals in the public sphere. Beyond Pesticides has worked with localities throughout the U.S. in an effort to promote organic land care systems and restrict the hazardous use of chemicals. Recently, Ohio’s Cuyoga County successfully banned a majority of toxic pesticide uses on […]



Report Puts Potomac River as “Most Endangered,” Highlights Why Clean Water Protections Critical

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2012) With Congress considering drastic cuts to national clean water protections, and rivers nationwide facing threats from natural gas drilling, chemical pollution, and new dams, American Rivers yesterday released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. ® It names the Potomac River, known as ”˜the nation’s river’ as it flows through the capital, the most endangered in the country. While the Potomac is cleaner than it used to be, the river is still threatened by urban and agricultural pollution —and it could get much worse if Congress rolls back critical clean water safeguards. As the country commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this year, the Potomac is emblematic of what is at stake for rivers nationwide. American Rivers launched a national call to action, giving citizens the opportunity to contact members of Congress and speak up for clean water. The report, “America’s Most Endangered Rivers,” notes that urban development is funneling tons of polluted rainwater to the river, that chemical fertilizer and manure from farms make matters worse, and that wastewater overflowing from sewers, along with pharmaceuticals flushed down toilets, contribute to dead zones in which marine life dies and might cause […]



Pesticide Reform Proposal Gaining Momentum in District of Columbia

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2012) A legislative proposal to strengthen the District of Columbia’s pesticide restrictons, with a specific focus on protecting children’s health, is moving forward after a hearing that brought together supporters of the effort –physicians, a toxicologist, environmental advocates, a pest management practitioner, and the head of District’s Department of the Environment. Introduced in January by Chairwoman Mary Cheh, of the Environment, Transportation and Public Works Committee of the DC Council, the Pesticide Education and Amendment Control Act of 2012 (Act) would, among other provisions, restrict the application of pesticides at schools and day care centers, on public property and near waterways and establish publicly available courses on pesticides at the University of the District of Columbia. With targeted improvement, this legislation has the potential to make a comprehensive approach to integrated pest management the foundation for pesticide regulation in the nation’s capital and place the burden of proof for allowing toxic pesticides on the companies seeking to market such products. Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman joined the numerous witnesses at a hearing on February 27 in, presenting testimony in support of the basic tenets of the Act and proposing recommendations to strengthen it. The legislation […]



Save the Frogs/Ban Atrazine Rally Tomorrow in Washington, DC

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2011) In recognition of the 3rd annual Save the Frogs Day, a “Save the Frogs/Ban Atrazine Rally” will be held tomorrow, Friday, April 29th in Washington, DC. The rally will take place at the steps of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW), and is intended to raise awareness of the rapid disappearance of frog species worldwide, and bring attention to the harmful effects of the endocrine disrupting herbicide atrazine. Amphibian populations worldwide have been declining at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Up to 200 species have completely disappeared in recent years. Amphibians are faced with an onslaught of environmental problems, including climate change, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades. Numerous studies have definitively linked pesticide use with significant effects on amphibians. Pesticides can cause abnormalities, diseases, injury and death in these frogs and other amphibians. Because amphibians breathe through their permeable skin, they are especially vulnerable to chemical contamination. Frog eggs float exposed on the water surface, where pesticides tend to concentrate, and hatched larvae live solely in aquatic environments for five to seven months before […]



White House Breaks Ground On Organic Kitchen Garden Project

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2009) With the beginning of Spring, students from Washington, D.C.’s Bancroft Elementary School have joined First Lady Michelle Obama on the White House’s South Lawn to start an 1,100-square foot kitchen garden that will provide food for family meals, formal dinners and local D.C. soup kitchens. Over the coming months, the students, whose school has had a garden since 2001, along with the Obama family and the White House grounds crew, will help with the organic garden from planting to harvesting. Many hope that this move is more than symbolic, that it will transcend to better agricultural and pesticide-reform policies, invigorate homeowners to convert some of their own lawns to an organic garden, and educate the consumers on the importance of eating healthy locally-grown organic food. The garden will contain 55 different vegetables, as well as berries, herbs and two beehives. According to the New York Times, the White House has spent $200 for organic seeds, mulch and dirt for the raised garden plot beds that will be “fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.” “I’m thrilled for the […]



Fed Launches Organic Lawn Management in Capitol Region

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2008) The General Services Administration (GSA) has begun using organic fertilizer on the grounds of all its federal buildings in the National Capital Region. The region, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, includes the District of Columbia, as well parts of Virginia and Maryland. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GSA is using 100-percent organic pelletized chicken manure at 64 sites, covering 84 acres. The poultry litter is being collected by a private company and converted to usable organic fertilizer, then transported by truck to the region, and applied at the GSA properties. “Use of organic fertilizer is but one of many sustainable practices that GSA employs in our landscaping program,” commented GSA Regional Administrator Tony Reed. “In this first year of utilizing this approach for all of our buildings in the National Capital Region, we have applied 80 tons, enriching our landscapes at the same time we are helping to clean up Chesapeake Bay.” Chemical fertilizer, pesticides, animal manure, and poultry litter are major sources of excess nitrogen and phosphorus that cause water quality problems in the Chesapeake Bay. These pollutants get washed into local rivers, streams, and groundwater and eventually […]



District of Columbia Bill To Strengthen Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2008) Newly elected members of the Council of the District of Columbia brought the issue of reforming pesticide law to the Council yesterday in a hearing on a right-to-know bill, Pesticide Consumer Notification Amendment Act of 2007, Bill 17-493. The bill would be the first time pesticide law in the District has been amended since the law was passed in 1977. Pest control industry representatives did not oppose the bill, but urged the sponsors to shift the burden of notification of apartment building residents to the landlord. While the bill is a notification amendment that requires licensed pesticide applicators to provide hazard information to potential customers and those in multi-unit buildings who would be exposed, the bill’s sponsors throughout the hearing cited the need for overhauling the law to stop the use of hazardous pesticides in the District. The hearing was held in the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs by Chairperson Mary Cheh. When told that it was working on these issues by the Department of the Environment, which oversees pesticide regulation and enforcement, the Council members said that was not good enough, and seemed unconvinced by the argument that pesticide restrictions are best […]



National Mall Tests Organic Lawn Care

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2007) One of the nation’s most visible and heavily used plots of turf will be a demonstration site for organic lawn care over the next two years. Over four acres of Washington, DC’s National Mall will be maintained organically in order to determine “whether environmentally friendly treatments . . . can improve the viability of the soil enough to make grass more viable under the extreme compaction conditions of the National Mall,” according to the National Park Service (NPS). The area will be cared for by SafeLawns.org employees. According to NPS, “SafeLawns.org originally contacted the National Mall & Memorial Parks in Spring of 2007 offering to maintain at no cost to the NPS some portion of the National Mall using proactive environmentally friendly techniques and proceedures.” Among those used are aeration, compost and compost tea applications, and overseeding, all of which comply with Department of the Interior Integrated Pest Management requirements. The Environmental Protection Agency will also conduct independent soil monitoring, along with complete record-keeping of the project.The panels under SafeLawns.org’s care are currently closed to public use, along with others in the eastern half of the National Mall, as part of NPS’s scheduled rotation. They […]