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Archive for the 'Take Action' Category


13
Nov

Commentary and Action: Court Decision and History Calls into Question Value of Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2023) The news of a federal Appeals Court’s reversal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision in early November calls into question the value of the basic structures, processes, and authorities of pesticide law that the public has been told are protective of health and the environment. After decades of review and litigation, this reversal, especially on a highly neurotoxic insecticide like chlorpyrifos, identifies a fundamentally flawed system that does not protect the health of people, in this case, children’s brains. >>Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  It was EPA’s finding that chlorpyrifos was destructive of the nervous system, particularly in children, and the functioning of the brain that led to an EPA-negotiated chemical company (Corteva/Dow Chemical) settlement in 1999 (took effect in 2000) that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos from the market. The 2020 EPA decision, 21 years later, to stop agricultural uses followed another Appeals Court decision, departing from the agency’s usually long drawn-out negotiations that ultimately compromise health and the environment. EPA banned agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2016 in the Obama Administration, but the decision was reversed by the Trump Administration in 2017. Because […]

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06
Nov

Sports World Rejects Synthetic Turf, Favors Natural Grass as Organic Offers Safe Alternative

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2023) Communities discussing synthetic versus natural turf are faced with a number of issues that go to safety, environmental health, and cost. The chemicals used to manage synthetic turf for bacteria, mold, and fungus raise serious health issues and represent a threat that does not exist in organic land management. When all the synthetic turf issues are considered, including chemical use, maintenance, heat effects, water contamination and treatment, playability and safety, organic grass turf offers an approach that checks all the critical boxes for protecting health and the environment at a competitive price. Hazards of synthetic (artificial) turf made news this fall following injuries to New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rogers and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, among others. Following safety concern, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a  call to end the use of synthetic turf and a return to natural turf. The FIFA World Cup soccer association requires a grass playing field. The players are not the only ones demanding grass fields. Fans of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift came out in full force in favor of the switch after the injury to Ms. Swift’s rumored boyfriend Travis Kelce. Beyond sports injuries, concerns […]

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30
Oct

Despite a Beetle’s History of Resistance to Insecticides, EPA Is Pushing Genetically Engineered Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2023) TAKE ACTION. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And so it goes with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to register a new genetically engineered pesticide for the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB); this time with a pesticide that has not been fully evaluated for its adverse effects to people and the environment. [Submit a public comment before comment period ends today, October 30, 2023.] Chemical-intensive agriculture has failed to control CPB since resistance to DDT was identified in 1952 and has continued with every family of pesticides since then. CPB has been dubbed the billion-dollar-bug because of the investment in failed attempts of chemical manufacturers to control the insect, the profits generated by chemical companies despite this failure, and the resulting losses for chemical-intensive farmers—not to mention government expenditures for the registration of chemicals that have short efficacy, pollution costs associated with chemical production and use, and lost ecosystem services. But, EPA is at it again, registering a new novel pesticide active ingredient, Ledprona, which raises the stakes on potential harm. The only winners in this ongoing failure […]

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27
Oct

EPA To Allow Genetically-Based Pesticides, Incomplete Testing, and Documented Adverse Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2023) In a typical move, EPA proposes to greenlight a type of genetic engineering to solve a problem created by the industrial paradigm for pest control, i.e. vast acreages of monoculture treated with millions of tons of toxic pesticides leading to rapid resistance among crop pests. In this case EPA wants to approve using a nucleic acid—double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)–called “interfering RNA,” or RNAi—to silence a gene crucial to the survival of the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB), the scourge of potato farmers around the world. But EPA has skipped over important steps in its decision-making process and rushed to judgment. Like chemical pesticides, genetically-based pesticides are regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In 2020, Massachusetts-based GreenLight Biosciences applied for registration of its RNAi active ingredient, Ledprona, and its end-use product, Calantha. The company executive heading the effort is an alumnus of Monsanto and several other major chemical companies. Last May EPA granted GreenLight an Experimental Use Permit (EUP) authorizing field studies in states that produce tons of potatoes. A mere five months later, EPA announced its decision to approve the registration based almost entirely on incomplete EUP data and giving the public very […]

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13
Oct

Urgent Action—Will Congress Defend Communities’ Right to Protect Public Health and the Environment?

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2023) Will the chemical industry and pesticide-dependent service industry (e.g., conventional landscaping industry) trample democratic rights and force the allowance of pesticide use against the will of communities across the U.S.? The answer is unequivocally yes, they are trying. In fact, the industries’ campaign is now playing out in the U.S. Congress, as members deliberate on the next Farm Bill. Members of Congress who advocate the pesticide lobby’s anti-democratic position are telling constituents that they do not support their right to restrict pesticides more stringently than the federal government. Please urge your U.S. Representative to sign the Congressional “Dear Colleague” Letter and uphold the right of local governments and states to restrict pesticides. Time sensitive: Please take action today (Friday, October 13, 2023) or as soon as possible. Thank you! Advocates are clearly telling members of Congress that the long-held federal-state balance of local, state, and federal authority will be broken if the federal government steps in to deny localities the authority to control pesticide use more stringently than federal law. The history is clear. The U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier (1991) found, “[The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act] FIFRA nowhere […]

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02
Oct

Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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25
Sep

Take Action: Organic Integrity on the Agenda of Upcoming USDA Meeting

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2023) It happens twice a year. The transparent process of a stakeholder board of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, a scientist, retailer, and certifier get together as members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and vote on allowable materials and standards in organic agriculture. This Congressionally mandated board has authorities not often given to people outside of government—authorities to determine what should be allowed in organic food production, under assessments of synthetic and natural substances. And the underlying law that makes this happen, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture may not allow synthetic and prohibited natural materials unless they are recommended by the NOSB. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public, which must be submitted by September 28, 2023. The values and principles embedded in OFPA far exceed the standards of health and environmental protection of any other health and environmental laws, which establish risk mitigation measures to determine allowable harm, under a set of guiding standards that require the board to (i) protect health (from production of inputs to their disposal), (ii) ensure compatibility with organic systems (with determinations that inputs do not hurt […]

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18
Sep

Standards Now Open to Public Comments To Protect the Integrity of the USDA Organic Label—Due by Sept 28!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2023) Advocates for organic have consistently maintained that public engagement with the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is critical to protecting the values and principles embedded in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). While the NOSB is a stakeholder board that reflects the sectors of the organic community—from consumers, farmers, processors, certifiers, retailers, and scientists—public interaction with the board offers critical input to the NOSB’s decision-making process. Ultimately, Board authority over the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and its advisor relationship to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture have a direct effect on the underlying decisions that determine the credibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label that is now widely found on products in virtually all grocery stores. A major issue that continues to plague label integrity is the Board’s review of so-called “inert” ingredients in materials allowed in organic. These are potentially toxic ingredients that should be reviewed by the Board, substances not disclosed on labels of products that may be used in organic production or processing. The NOSB has access to the complete list of “inerts” used in organic materials, and advocates are urging the Board to begin immediately its […]

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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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28
Aug

Labeling Can Help Buyers Avoid Hazards of Petrochemical Fertilizers—Public Comment by Sep 11

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2023) As the need to eliminate petrochemical fertilizers looms large in the context of existing existential crises relating to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency, the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under increasing public scrutiny. One program that is being closely watched is the agency’s Safer Choice product labeling program which could, according to advocates, be strategic in differentiating in the marketplace those products that are not contributing to the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and dramatic health effects. Beyond Pesticides is advocating, in response to a request for public comment from EPA (due September 11, 2023), that EPA (under its Safer Choice program) evaluate fertilizers for compatibility with natural systems, protection of soil organisms, waterways, human health, and helping to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises. With the Safer Choice label, consumers—from farmers, landscapers, to gardeners—could determine at the point of sale which fertilizer products are not contributing to the floods, fires, and loss of life associated with the climate crisis. Beyond Pesticides previously initiated an action urging that EPA’s Safer Choice program be more holistic and in sync with natural systems, not just a product substitution program. This week, Beyond […]

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21
Aug

Advocates Urge EPA Integration of Safer Chemicals and Organic Practices in Pesticide Assessments

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2023) As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice program asks for public input into the expansion of its work to label green chemicals, the need to recognize the importance of holistic management systems in sync with nature looms large. Will simple chemical substitution ignore the value of natural processes that require nurturing for sustainable future? EPA’s Safer Choice is a non-regulatory program that identifies alternative chemicals for a number of uses that meet expanded safety criteria. Tell EPA and Congress that substituting chemicals alone is not the Safer Choice. Use Safer Choice to eliminate harmful practices and emissions by compelling a transition to practices that build a climate- and sustainability-focused economy. For problems requiring a chemical solution—for example, laundry detergents—EPA’s Safer Choice is a valuable resource, and consumers can look for products with the Safer Choice label, which requires that EPA review all chemical ingredients that must meet safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. While EPA’s Safer Choice/Design for the Environment (DfE) program performs alternatives analyses on chemicals and identifies chemicals that are less hazardous, it […]

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10
Aug

Is “Safer Choice” Eliminating Hazardous Chemical Use through Management and Product Choice?

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice program, a voluntary labeling program, has announced an opportunity for public comment on new areas of work—opening up a public discussion of priorities for identifying less toxic products in the marketplace. EPA describes the labeling program as a part of its Pollution Prevention (P2) program, which, according to the agency, “includes practices that reduce, eliminate, or prevent pollution at its source, such as using safer ingredients in products.” A July 17 Federal Registration Notice, Stakeholder Engagement Opportunity for the Safer Choice and Design for the Environment (DfE) Programs’ Potential Expansion Into New Product Categories, announces a public listening session August 28, and a public comment deadline of September 11, 2023 In the face of existential health, biodiversity, and climate crises, advocates say that the question before EPA is whether strict systemic measures will be adopted to meet the urgency of the crises. This will require the quick phase out of hazardous substances that are contributing to the existential crises (including petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers). While the Safer Choice program can identify practices and products that are not harmful to health, biodiversity, and climate, it is a labeling rather […]

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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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03
Jul

Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2023) Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators. While the appetite of purple martins for mosquitoes is well known, most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year. Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, […]

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12
Jun

Take Action: Help Boost Transition to Organic Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2023) In view of the urgent need to enact a transformation to organic agriculture in order to address existential threats to human health, climate, and biodiversity, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (VT) and U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and Alma Adams (NC-12) have introduced Senate and House versions of the Opportunities in Organic Act to reduce cost-barriers, expand access to new markets and resources, and provide support and training. >>Tell your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to cosponsor H.R. 3650 and S. 1582, the Opportunities in Organic Act. Thank those who are current cosponsors. Although some existing programs support organic agriculture, transition, and research, they do not level the playing field for organic producers and do not adequately or holistically meet their needs. Organic certification costs and processes remain a barrier for many, and most producers have limited access to organic-specific technical assistance or mentorship – especially in regions with smaller organic sectors. The Opportunities in Organic Act will expand the existing National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program to reduce these barriers and better serve organic producers. The Opportunities in Organic Act has three major components: Organic Certification Cost-Share. The Opportunities in Organic Act will modernize reimbursements for organic certification, […]

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05
Jun

Take Action: With Butterfly Decline Mounting, EPA Allows Continued Pesticide Use that Causes Threat

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2023) Butterflies—the most attractive of our insect fauna—are disappearing at an appalling rate, largely due to pesticide use. Recent studies have documented declines of almost 50% from 1990 to 2011 in Europe (with trends continuing), of 58 percent between 2000 and 2009 in the U.K., and of 33% from 1996–2016 in the state of Ohio in the U.S. Even steeper declines have been documented for Monarch butterflies, with an 80 percent decline of Eastern monarchs and 99 percent decline of Western monarchs. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten butterflies. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to help bring back butterflies by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect our most charismatic insects. Last year, EPA admitted that three neonicotinoid pesticides are “likely to adversely affect from two-thirds to over three-fourths of America’s endangered species—1,225 to 1,445 species in all,” including many butterfly species. On May 5 of this year, EPA released new analyses of these neonics’ effects on endangered species. EPA’s analyses focus on the species most at risk of extinction, and the results represent […]

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15
May

Allowance of “Forever” or “Legacy” Chemicals Causes Insurmountable Multi-Generational Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2023) Say “legacy contaminant” or “forever chemical” and most people today think “PFAS” (perfluoroalkyl substances), but PFAS are just the latest persistent toxic chemicals recognized as presenting an alarmingly difficult cleanup problem. Fortunately, steps are being taken by governments and businesses to eliminate use of PFAS. (Organic farmers concerned about the integrity of their products have been leaders in these efforts.) Although government officials often devote considerable energy and resources to cleaning up contamination, the continued manufacturing of these chemicals and their release into the environment creates a futile situation. The U.S. is a signatory to the 2001 Stockholm Convention, which provides an international framework for moving persistent organic pollutants out of commerce, but the U.S. Senate never ratified it.     Ask your Senators to ratify the Stockholm convention. Tell EPA that persistent toxic pesticides must be considered to pose an “unreasonable risk to the environment under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),” which must result in cancellation of their registrations.  PFAS contamination is just the latest chapter of a very old story. Legacy contamination of our bodies and the environment is partly a result of a slow piecemeal approach to eliminating these toxic chemicals. […]

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08
May

Take Action: Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides under Threat of Federal Preemption in Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2023) The Farm Bill in Congress covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—and the pesticide industry would like to insert a provision that takes away (preempts) local authority to restrict pesticide use—which would undercut the local democratic process to protect public health and safety. Even if communities are not now regulating toxic pesticides, we do not want to close the door on future action, as communities take on petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use that is contributing to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.    Part 1: Tell your local officials to sign onto a letter opposing the preemption language. Part 2: Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing anti-democratic preemption language in the 2023 Farm Bill.  As Congress drafts the 2023 Farm Bill, there is an opportunity for many topics—good and bad—to be introduced. Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It is designed to secure a sufficient food supply, establish fair food prices for both farmers and consumers, and protect […]

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01
May

Take Action: U.S. Geological Survey Critical to Pesticide Monitoring and Regulatory Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2023) The sheer number of different chemicals in the nation’s waterways and thus potential for toxic mixtures presents significant risks to health and the environment. However, the range of pesticides and the widespread contamination across the country would not be as fully uncovered without the work of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Research conducted by USGS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on urban runoff across the country in 2019 found 215 of 438 sampled toxic compounds present in the water. The toxic soup in many U.S. waterways is unsustainable and threatens the foundation of many food chains. Imbalances in aquatic environments can ripple throughout the food web, creating trophic cascades that further exacerbate health and environmental damage. The data on water contamination has become one of the compelling reasons to abandon reliance on toxic chemicals in favor of organic land management to eliminate these threats. Tell Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to expand USGS mapping of pesticide use and monitoring of waterways. Tell EPA Administrator Michael Regan that pesticides shown to contaminate rivers and streams must be banned. The USGS Water Resources Mission Area (WMA) researches pesticide use, trends in pesticide occurrence in streams, concentrations […]

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24
Apr

Call for Farm Bill with Organic, Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals, and Native Ecosystem Support

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2023) It is well-known that trees and other plants help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in their wood and roots—especially when they are allowed to grow continuously. However, plants help in other ways as well.  Plants—especially trees—also moderate the climate through their participation in the water cycle. And when the weather is hot and dry, they hold the soil, preventing dust bowl conditions. In the 1930’s, the U.S. Forest Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, together with local farmers, planted more than 220 million trees, developing 18,000 miles of windbreaks on the Great Plains. Unfortunately, those windbreaks are now endangered by the same economic impetus that helped create the Dust Bowl—making more room for economically valuable crops.  Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to address climate change in the Farm Bill by incorporating a large-scale, national transition to certified organic agriculture and restoration and resilience strategies that prohibit the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.    Organic farming helps resist climate change in several ways. Regenerative organic farming sequesters carbon in the soil. Organic […]

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20
Apr

Protect Bees, Trees, You and Me This Earth Day 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2023) This Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2023), Beyond Pesticides urges individuals to spread awareness of the toxic pesticides that poison people and the environment and the safe alternatives that are available to safeguard communities and the surrounding environment. On Earth Day, reflecting on the beauty and wonder of the natural world highlights the importance of restoration and preservation to maintain the planet’s intricate web of life. However, the natural world on which life depends is under dire threat as the dependence on toxic chemicals (e.g., pesticides) enables ongoing environmental contamination. Mechanized and industrial human activity perpetuates ongoing toxic chemical contamination, resulting in massive die-offs of beneficial organisms, increased rates of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disrupting and transgenerational chemical effects, and widespread pollution of our air and waterways. Beyond Pesticides, has the tools needed to increase environmental awareness in your community. Therefore, this Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides continues to advocate for the adoption of organic practices and policies that alleviate threats to ecosystems and enhance biodiversity. Michigan State University professor Thomas Dietz, Ph.D. highlights, “Continuing the successes of environmentalism—an integration of science, a concern with human well-being and justice, and a recognition of the need to consider […]

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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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13
Feb

Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides Would Be Codified by Federal Reform Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2023) As more and more communities across the country outlaw pesticides on their public land, parks, and playing fields, most states prohibit (or preempt) localities from restricting hazardous use on private property. As a result, pesticides used on landscapes—uses that can be replaced by organic management practices—result in chemical drift and runoff, putting the community in harms way and people involuntarily exposed. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, includes a provision that grants communities under federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act—FIFRA) local authority to restrict pesticides on all property, public and private, within their jurisdiction. While the U.S. Supreme Court (in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier) in 1991 found that FIFRA does not preempt local governments’ authority to restrict pesticide use in their town, cities, or counties, state governments have taken that authority away in 44 states at the behest of the pesticide lobby. Urge your Senators to co-sponsor PACTPA and reforms to the toxic core of FIFRA, including upholding the right of local governments to restrict pesticides. As local governments debate the hazards associated with pesticide use in their communities, many have decided to transition their […]

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