Saturday, December 27, 2008
Alliance building wins change on pesticides
Alliance building wins change on pesticides
More than two years of alliance-building around pesticide reductionpaid a major dividend last month as municipal representatives aroundthe province voted overwhelmingly to call on the provincial governmentto pass legislation restricting cosmetic pesticides.
The 200 delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM)convention in Penticton voted Sept. 25 to endorse a motion submittedby Kamloops city council urging the provincial government to enactlegislation to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides province-wide. A similar resolution from Comox, calling on the province to givemunicipalities the authority to set bylaws on the use of pesticides onall private lands, also passed.
The vote on the resolutions capped months of campaigning by analliance of Toxic Free Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society(CCS) andthe Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE),which have been staging forums around the province alerting BritishColumbians to the health and environmental effects of pesticides andencouraging municipal councils to enact bylaws curbing pesticide use.
Toxic Free Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society were also at theUBCM convention, holding coffee sessions with delegates and handingout a joint leaflet urging councillors to support resolutions insupport of provincial pesticide legislation. The David SuzukiFoundation also took part in the campaign on the convention floor.
“We first raised the issue of toxic pesticides more than four yearsago in our CancerSmart Consumer Guide and all three of ourorganizations — Toxic Free Canada, CCS and CAPE — have been workinghard on the pesticide forums for the past two years,” said Toxic FreeCanada executive director Mae Burrows. “So it's really gratifying tosee the support at this convention and see the campaign move to thenext level.”
CCS, CAPE and Toxic Free Canada were first together on a forum inKamloops in 2006 called Chemical Trespass and Preventing Cancer: ThePesticide Connection that was organized by Thompson Rivers UniversityFaculty Association and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.Kamloops council later passed a pesticide bylaw curbing the use ofcosmetic pesticides.
Burrows, a Burnaby resident, also addressed Burnaby citycouncil lastyear in favour of a municipal pesticide bylaw. The council'sresolution was one of the first to call on the province to enactlegislation governing the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.
At the UBCM convention both Kamloops mayor Terry Lake and Burnabymayor Derek Corrigan, as well as Burnaby councillor Dan Johnstone,spoke forcefully in favour of the pesticide resolution.
The Kamloops resolution, listed as B81 in the delegates' book, states:
“WHEREAS residents of the Province of British Columbia areincreasingly requesting their local governments to ban the use ofcosmetic pesticides within their boundaries in order to mitigateconcerns that these pesticides present a threat to the environment,children, pets and personal health.
“As these bylaws are being implemented in some municipalities, it hasbeen found that community bans have little effect on overall pesticidesales. This is in sharp contrast to the Province of Quebec which hasseen a fifty percent drop in pesticide use since their legislated banin 1994;
“AND WHEREAS the Community Charter does not give communities thelegislative authority to ban the sale of pesticides, only to regulatetheir use:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia enactprovincial legislation that will ban the sale and use of cosmeticpesticides province-wide.”
The Comox resolution, number B82, states:
“WHEREAS the application of pesticides contributes to the cumulativechemical load absorbed by the natural environment;
“AND WHEREAS pesticides cannot be necessarily confined to a singlelocation, but move through the environment in the air, land and waterand may have an impact on non-target organisms and plants;
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the provincial government be urged tocontrol pesticide use by mandating sales and retail displayrestrictions across BC;
“AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the provincial government be urged toamend the Spheres of Concurrent Jurisdictions Environmental andWildlife Regulation to allow local governments to regulate, prohibitand impose requirements in relation to the use of cosmetic pesticideson all private lands.”
UBCM pesticide activistsAt the UBCM convention: left to right, Kathryn Seely, Canadian CancerSociety, Mae Burrows, Toxic Free Canada, David Waldron, David SuzukiFoundation and Lisa Weber Canadian Cancer Society.
BackgrounderAlliance building wins change on pesticides - backgrounderhttp://www.toxicfreecanada.ca/
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Letter: Ban Pesticides, Insecticides & Herbicides
Serge ThiviergeMaireMunicipality of Lac-Simon849, chemin Tour-du-LacPO BOX 3550Lac-Simon, Chénéville (Québec)J0V 1E0
RE: Ban pesticides, insecticides & herbicides: We must protect thewater and people of Lac Simon and Cheneville!
Maire Serge Thivierge,
In May 1991, the town of Hudson, Quebec passed a by-law to eliminatethe cosmetic use of pesticides within the town's limits, in an effortto protect the health of Hudson residents. Two lawn pesticidecompanies, Chemlawn and Spraytech, were caught spraying pesticides inflagrant violation of the bylaw, and were charged (the maximum finewas $300).
Outraged, the pesticide companies challenged the municipality'sauthority "to forbid an activity legally authorized by a federal orprovincial law." The Quebec court ruled in favour of Hudson.
The companies then appealed to the Quebec Superior Court. The SuperiorCourt supported the earlier decision. Unwilling to let the matter die,the companies, undoubtedly backed by larger chemical manufacturing anddistributing interests, pushed the case to the Supreme Court, whichgranted leave to appeal in November 1999. The case was heard onDecember 7, 2000.
Their challenge was dismissed, with costs, by the Supreme Court ofCanada on June 28th, 2001.
While upholding the right of municipalities to protect the health oftheir residents against environmental threats, there is no explicitmention of pesticides, which opens up the potential for bylawsprohibiting or restricting other activities or substances incommunities.
In January 2005, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) formallyrecognized the role that municipalities play in the governing ofpesticide use. They wrote that communities are able “to furtherregulate pesticide use, including use restrictions.”
Les Municipalités de Lac-Simon et Cheneville must take this right andimplement a Ban on pesticides, insecticides & herbicides.
We must protect the water and people of both Cheneville and Lac Simon!
I await your reply.
CC: Conseil de la Municipalité de Lac-Simon Don Saliba, Jean GuyMaillé, Jocelyn Boisvert, Nelson Barnes, Reina Laniel, ET Conseil dela Municipalité de Cheneville: Eric Drouin, Richard Whissell, Jean-Rene Carriere, Shieley Whissell, Rober Roy, et Joseph Filion Maire.
Citizen's Guide to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)
In March 2005, as a result of intense lobbying from North America’srichest corporations, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the UnitedStates met in Waco, Texas to shake hands on the Security andProsperity Partnership of North America (SPP). The SPP was a pledge tospeed up the corporate goal of continental economic integration bylinking it to U.S. government security demands... continue reading!
SPP handbills - download (PDF) and distribute in your community!
Download the full report, Behind Closed Doors: What they're nottelling us about the Security And Prosperity Partnership (PDF 10.7MB), or follow the links below:
Table of contents
* The ABCs of the SPP: An introduction to the Security andProsperity Partnership of North America * Just say no to the SPP: Five reasons to oppose the Security andProsperity Partnership of North America * The SPP and corporate power: “Imaginary citizens” and thedemocratic deficit of deep integration * The SPP and workers: Lowering working standards and wages acrossNorth America * The SPP and water: Bulk exports and the “joint optimumutilization of the available water” * The SPP and energy: Securing U.S. control of Canadian andMexican resources * The SPP and insecurity: “No fly” lists, “trusted travelers” andthe new hierarchy of citizenship * The SPP and war: Endorsing U.S. foreign policy and fighting U.S.wars * The SPP and public safety: How regulatory harmonizationthreatens our health and the environment * Integrate This! Our demands for the SPP * You can help stop the SPP! A citizen’s guide to fighting theSecurity and Prosperity Partnership
For more information about the Council of Canadians, or its campaignagainst the SPP, please sign up to receive updates above or call us at1-800-387-7177.
Integrate This! is about challenging the Security and ProsperityPartnership of North America (SPP), an executive-level pact betweenthe governments and corporate sectors of Canada, the United States andMexico, which has never been debated publicly or voted on in any ofthe three countries. There are over 300 initiatives in the SPP aimedat harmonizing North American policies on food, drugs, security,immigration, manufacturing, the environment and public health.
As well as regular SPP updates, the site is full of reports,interviews and multimedia presentations critical of what's oftencalled the "deep integration" of North America. News updates will beposted here regularly and archived into the seven categories on theleft. The site is updated regularly so visit often, or sign up forregular updates above.
Photo: Council delivers 10,000 Stop the SPP petitions during theAugust 2007 Montebello Leaders' Summit.Credit: Christina Riley
Not Counting CanadiansA groundbreaking Council of Canadians poll showsconclusively that an overwhelming majority of Canadians disagree withthe main policy objectives of the SPP.
Click here to read our report, Not Counting Canadians: The Securityand Prosperity Partnership and public opinion
The People's SummitDispatches from the People's Summit: ChallengingNAFTA and the SPP in New Orleans, April 21-22, 2008
Deep Integration: A Timeline - updated March 2008
News alert: The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas reborn?
September 26, 2008Posted by Andrea Harden
President Bush met with leaders and officials from 11 countries in theWestern Hemisphere on Wednesday, September 24th in New York to launchthe ‘Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas’ initiative. Canada isjoined by the U.S., Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the DominicanRepublic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Peru inthis initiative. All have free trade agreements with the U.S., or onepending before Congress. In a Washington Post article, Bush hails theinitiative as, “a forum where leaders can work to ensure that thebenefits of trade are broadly shared.” (more...)
CD Howe Institute backs Canada-EU deal and deep integration throughNAFTA renegotiation
September 24, 2008Posted by Brent Patterson
Alan Alexandroff, who recently co-wrote a CD Howe Institute paper onNAFTA titled 'Still Amigos', writes in today's Globe and Mail that,"As Canada readies for a massive free-trade negotiation - perhapsstarting as early as Oct. 17 - many hope the talks between Canadianand European officials could eventually result in a wide-rangingagreement. Such an EU-Canada agreement could even exceed NAFTA's scopeby guaranteeing the free movement of skilled labour, free exchange ofservices and competitive public procurement." (more...)
Transfer of Federal LabsA Blueprint for Dismantling Public Science
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of CanadaCommunications Magazine > Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2008
On June 6, 2008, the Treasury Board released the long-awaited reportof the Independent Panel of Experts studying the transfer of federalgovernment laboratories to academia and/or the private sector.Following up on the government’s intentions outlined in the 2007federal budget, the panel identified five “early candidates” fortransfer. The first two will be Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada'sCanadian Cereal Research and Innovation Laboratory in Winnipeg, andNatural Resources Canada's Geosciences Laboratory in Ottawa. (more...)
Dec 27, 2008
EPA Requests Comments on 'Chemigation' Labeling
EPA is considering developing new guidance for the labeling ofpesticide products applied through irrigation systems, or"chemigation." The agency has published on its Web site a chemigationlabeling discussion paper and is inviting any interested parties toprovide preliminary, informal comments on the best approaches to takein developing useful guidance on chemigation labeling before EPAbegins drafting a specific proposal that may be issued for publicnotice and comment.
The proposed guidance would supersede the existing agency guidance onthis subject contained in Pesticide Registration Notice 87-1 (PRN87-1) published March 11, 1987. State pesticide regulatory officialsrepresenting the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group(SFIREG) requested EPA to consider this step in an issue papersubmitted to the agency in 2007.
Comments on this paper should be submitted by Feb. 6, 2009, to:email@example.com.
EPA notes that any comments submitted may be made available to thepublic and advises commenters not to submit information considered tobe Confidential Business Information or otherwise protected fromdisclosure. To assist the agency in responding to comments, pleaseinclude your name, organizational affiliation, and a telephone number.
==============================Warning Industry Propaganda Below==============================
Fri 26 Dec 2008
Selective reporting, indeed
By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen
In a year-end review in the Globe and Mail, Paul Taylor writes that"possibly the most important medical study of the year dealt withresearch that was never published."
In January, a study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicineprovided the first hard evidence of a practice known as selectivereporting, in which the good news about a drug is made public and thebad news isn't....
Dr. Turner and his team compared these formerly confidentialantidepressant studies with what was eventually published in medicaljournals, which serve as a primary source of drug information fordoctors. Their findings revealed that only the bullish antidepressantstudies tended to see the light of day. The negative studies wereessentially buried. As a result of this selective publication offavourable results, doctors and patients were left with a distortedpicture of how well these drugs work. In other words, doctors could beprescribing drugs that aren't as effective as they thought or haveunder-reported side effects.
Taylor is right. This is an appalling practise that taints theinformation available to doctors and the public.
But this isn't the only source of informational bias. Selectivereporting is also widespread in the media, except the media's biasworks in the opposite direction: Bad news is trumpeted while good newsis ignored.
A perfect example is the very next item on Taylor's list.
A plastic compound known as bisphenol A became one of the leadinghealth worries of 2008.
A growing body of research suggests the compound poses a potentialthreat because it can mimic estrogen. Experts fear it could lead tohormonal imbalances with a wide range of health implications....
In October, the federal government decided to add bisphenol A to itslist of toxic substances - making Canada the first country to takesuch decisive action against BPA. The move gives Ottawa the authorityto limit human exposure to the substance. Federal officials focusedtheir attention on infants, who might be less able than adults toremove the substance from their bodies. The main worry is that infantscould be getting too much of the chemical from canned baby formula andplastic feeding bottles. The federal government has proposed banningBPA from baby bottles to minimize exposure for children under 18months.
Even so, public health and environmental advocates say Ottawa hasn'tgone far enough and should be protecting people of all ages. Somescientists think BPA may play a role in health trends linked to sex-hormone imbalances, such as earlier puberty in girls as well asprostate and breast cancers.
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation in September found that adults with higher exposures toBPA had 2.9 times the odds of developing cardiovascular disease and2.4 times the odds of getting adult-onset diabetes, compared withthose with lower exposures.
Another study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy ofSciences, suggests BPAmight alter brain function and contribute toneurological ailments such as depression, Alzheimer's disease andschizophrenia.
Sounds scary. And there's certainly reason to be concerned about BPA.Scientists agree more research must be done.
But what Taylor doesn't mention is that the science is very mixed.Many scientists dispute the value of some of the scarier findings.
Nor does he mention that the decision to ban BPA in infant productswas made by the Harper government, not scientists. And that decisionwas made at a time when the Conservatives were being hammered for notcaring enough about the environment, so there was real politicalbenefit to enacting a ban.
The suspicion deepens when you learn that no other country hasfollowed Canada's lead. This August, the European Union's food safetyagency reviewed the science and decided the Canadian action wasunnecessary. Given the harder line Europe generally takes on chemicalsafety, that's an important piece of information.
But Taylor doesn't mention it. In fact, the Globe and Mail -- whichhas run innumerable stories about BPA and loudly prides itself forleading coverage of the controversy -- didn't report the Europeandecision.
And this isn't one, rare example.
In May, the Health Canada agency that regulates pesticides concluded amajor review of the voluminous science on the common pesticide 2,4-D.Used as directed, the review concluded, 2,4-D is safe. That was acritical finding, particularly since the McGuinty government had justannounced it would ban the cosmetic use of 2,4-D and other pesticidesin Ontario.
So how much media attention did this important review get? Absolutelynothing. This column of mine was the first to report it. Even theGlobe and Mail -- which had run a big "expose" about the allegeddangers of 2,4-D several years ago -- did not mention it.
Scientists complain about this sort of biased reporting all the time(as I discuss in my book). Back in the early 1990s, researchers at theU of T noticed that two studies appeared back-to-back in the NewEngland Journal of Medicine. One study found a hazard existed. Theother study found it did not. Since the media routinely report onstudies in the journal, the researchers, thought, this would be agreat test of media bias.
So they looked around and found 19 stories that reported on either orboth studies.
None of the stories reported only the "good news" study. Nine reportedonly the bad news study.
Ten reported both, but in all ten significantly more space was givento the bad news than the good.
Unfortunately, far too many reporters think "good news" is anoxymoron.
© 2008 CanWest MediaWorks
27 December 2008
Brown's support in battle over pesticide rules
By Chris Benfield
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has put himself firmly behind DefraSecretary Hilary Benn by saying bluntly that new restrictions onpesticides, as proposed by Europe, do not make sense.
The Crop Protection Association, representing the chemists and theircustomers, wrote to Mr Brown and Mr Benn in September, to press thecase for postponing the full impact of the new environmentalprotection rules until there has been an EU-wide impact assessment ofthe likely impact on crop yields.
Both the politicians held their replies until after the next crucialstage in consideration of the new law – a meeting of the EnvironmentCommittee of Euro MPs.
But since then, both have written to make clear that the fight goeson, and the Crop Protection Association has now published the letters.
Mr Brown, writing on December 10, said: "Hilary Benn and I agree withthe points you make. We are not, of course, understating the genuineneed to regulate pesticides but in this case the approach taken goeswell beyond the risk-based approach to regulation that is advised bythe UK's scientific establishment.
"It simply does not make sense to adopt a measure which could reduceyields of key crops by 20-30 per cent and for which there is not evena half-robust impact assessment.
"The UK government is very concerned that the Council (of EUministers) should not accept changes which could have unintendedconsequences for the security of food supply and also for food prices.
"We are working hard to put pressure on the European Commission,members of the European Parliament and other Member States."
Mr Benn's letter said much the same. However, farm ministries havelost out to environment ministries on the issue in much of Europe andit will be some comfort to UK farmers to hear of Mr Brown making clearthat Mr Benn is not on his own.
Two charitable bodies, the British Crop Production Council and theRoyal Agricultural Society of England, have jointly lodged a complaintwith the EU Ombudsman on the European Commission's handling of theproposed EC Pesticide Authorisation Regulation – in particular thefailure to conduct a thorough impact assessment.
Mr Benn is also taking a hard-headed line on the implications of theGeorgina Downs case, which apparently established farmers should notspray near housing without making a public announcement in advance.
Defra has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling and hasmade clear that whichever way the appeal goes, it will be resisting adramatic extension of spraying controls.
Ms Downs, 35, said last week: "Heads should be rolling, following sucha landmark High Court Judgment, but instead it's business as usual,with the Government's relentless attempts to protect the industry asopposed to the health of its citizens abundantly clear."
Tuesday July 15, 2008
PESTICIDES:Common sense over hysteria
by Anthony Kovats
Ahhh summer. Short sleeves, sandals, barbecues with family and friendsand the constant snapping of water sprinklers peppers greening lawns.
And yet, in this rolling sea of urbania a small flower pokes its sun-yellowed head above the green. Then another. And yet another.
Dandelions. Clover. Nodding thistle. Suddenly, that tranquil yard hasbecome a plethora of every noxious weed known and the tranquility ofurbania is under siege.
No worries. A quick trip to any gardening centre and the chemicaldependency to keep that lawn perfect is born.But what if Alberta were to blanket the province in a completepesticide and herbicide ban like Quebec and recently Ontario?
It could happen.
Instead of dealing with a patchwork of municipally generated policiesregarding the use of these products, the governments of those twoprovinces did away with the guesswork.
But was it a knee-jerk reaction?
Nigel Bowles believes it was.
The executive director for the Landscape Alberta Nursery TradesAssociation is afraid governments are making these broad sweepingdecisions based on political will and not science.
In fact, Bowles’ fear is such general restrictions will not onlyimpede landscapers as a profession, but on a more drastic note, thecomplete removal of such tools can open Alberta up to a host ofdamaging insects that we would not be able to combat such as theEmerald Ash Borer or the infamous Mountain Pine Beetle.
“Edmonton, Calgary, even Leduc, you have heavy tree canopies and yetwe have some nasty little insects that are deciding to march their wayright across the country,” said Bowles.
Although he welcomes the concept of a provincial set of rulesregarding cosmetic chemicals, he’s afraid any legislation, if notthought through, will be detrimental.
“In a number of Ontario municipalities that have decided to ban lawnand garden products in one form or another, you had this mishmash oflegislation.”
Bowles said Alberta organizations like LANTA has been proactive ingetting major cities to implement integrated pest management policiesright into their environmental plans which has also led to asignificant decline in pesticide use in his own industry.
What concerns him is grassroots movements calling for complete banssuch as once growing in Calgary.“We know that municipalities are being pressured by activist groups,”mused Bowles.
“But we (landscaping professionals) need these tools in the tool box.If you take them away, I think the long-term consequences will be farmore devastating than the products in the first place.”
However, what Bowles would endorse is a ban on certain cosmeticpesticides now readily accessible to the average homeowner.
Anything granular that requires the average homeowner to mix ithimself. Weed and feed chemicals are one of his biggest concerns,stating unless properly trained, the average homeowner tends tooveruse such products that can easily end up in the water tables.
“Pesticide levels in our rivers have gone up and it’s been equated tothe use of weed in feed fertilizers. We’d certainly like to see thesetaken off of the market.”
He added such chemicals simply don’t fit into the integrated pestmanagement programs now being implemented.
Approximately, 40 per cent of Albertans regularly apply chemicals totheir lawns, a sharp contrast that’s witnessed a Canada-wide declinein the number of pesticide users, from 31 per cent in 1994 to 29 percent in 2006, according to Statistics Canada.
He also charged applying a complete ban is illogical since it is acomplete ban of only a handful of known chemicals. He said the knee-jerk reaction in no way takes into account the numerous chemicals allaround us from dog collars that control fleas to general cleaners,thus such bans as though coming into effect in Ontario and Quebec aremoot and superficially appease groups who are not looking at a farbigger picture.
"All of the products used domestically are regulated by Health Canadaas safe to use," said Bowles. “But we have asked the government toconsider restricting weed and feed and asked them to look at the salesof concentrates and only leave premixed products for the generalproduct.”
Bowles agrees with the intent of banning certain cosmetic pesticides,but without a logical scientific approach behind it, such an all-encompassing ban would be detrimental.
Sep 16, 2008
It’s in da BAG
By: Marty Whitford
WASHINGTON — The best defense is a good offense, whether you’reclashing on the gridiron or battling in the business world for theright to use tried-and-tested chemical tools needed to help protect ahealthy and vital environment from the consequences of ineffectivepest and plant management.
“Everyone’s concerned about what will happen with the Novemberelections. But we can expect a much closer look at the environment,and big changes and challenges, whichever candidate wins thepresidency,” said Allen James, president of RISE (Responsible Industryfor a Sound Environment), speaking at the organization’s 18th annualmeeting.
Held Sept. 2-5 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, the joint meetingwith CropLife America was themed “No Red, No Blue, Just Green States —Owning our rightful place in the green movement.”
“I don’t remember a dicier or scarier time since I’ve been out ofcollege,” said David Crow, president of D.C. Legislative & RegulatoryServices (DCLRS). “Both candidates for president [Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL] are selling their versions of ‘gogreen’ T-shirts. Now, President George W. Bush and Vice President DickCheney don’t have anything like that on their Web site. We’rewitnessing the beginning to an end of an era.”
Protecting our turf, planetProactively protecting pesticides’ traditional “turf” — which is underincreasing threat on federal, state and local levels — is preciselywhy RISE now is asking its voting manufacturer, distributor andformulator members to approve a significant dues increase beginningmid-2009 despite today’s stormy economic times.
“Our Big Audacious Goal (BAG) — owning our rightful place in the greenmovement — requires a commitment of extraordinary human and financialresources,” James said.
Allen James, left, thanks Frank Gaspirini for his seven years ofservice to RISE. Gaspirini recently left his post as RISE’s directorof state issues to become executive director of the National Councilof Agricultural Employers.
James told Landscape Management that RISE currently collects about $2million in membership dues annually and hopes to increase that by$800,000 so it can build a $1 million-a-year war chest for its BAGcampaign.
The organization also is stepping up its grassroots efforts launchedin 2006. RISE has added nearly 400 to its grassroots army already thisyear and James is confident it will top 1,000 industry advocateshelping on local and state levels by year’s end.
“We are at a critical juncture, a true tipping point for our industryand our association,” James said. “If you think we’re headed in thewrong direction, our RISE Governing Board needs to know how you feelas soon as possible. But I believe we’re headed in the rightdirection, going on the offensive in ways we have not been able to inquite some time.”
Wins & LossesThe Green Industry can mark as a major loss it’s increasing Northernexposure, James noted.
“The activists plain outworked outworked us up there,” James said ofmounting pesticide bans and usage restrictions in Canada. “We clearlyhave lost the battle in Canada for the most part. Now, it’s just amatter of how far the bans and restrictions will extend into agmarkets. We cannot allow this to happen in the U.S.”
Karen Reardon, RISE’s director of communications and grassroots, saidthe association tracked more than 450 state pesticide bills this year.In the win column, RISE helped defeat 35 of 36 fertilizer bills.Fertilizer preemption laws exists in 17 states and RISE is working ondefending, strengthening and expanding the protection.
Forty-one states offer pesticide preemption laws, but such protectionis under constant attack in California and elsewhere. RISE defeated akey attempt to undermine preemption in California earlier this year,but the activists likely will come knocking again in 2009.
“The activists know they have to knock down state preemption to imposetheir concept of sustainability,” James said. “We have to hold theline on preemption in California. If they undo preemption there, Ipredict at least eight other states, including New York, Wisconsin andFlorida, will fall shortly thereafter.”
Matthew Harding, RISE’s Law Committee Chair and Bayer CropScience’sGeneral Counselor, said little losses — even if they’re temporary —all add up.
“We’re seeing a lot of lawsuits resulting in courts imposing certaininterim measures such as we can’t use certain pesticides in certainareas where endangered species are located. It’s kind of like ‘deathby 1,000 cuts.’”
Debra F. Edwards, Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S.EPA, admitted that coming into compliance with the Endangered SpeciesAct is one of the EPA’s biggest challenges.
“We’re working on it but there are hundreds of thousands of potentialcombinations of pesticides, outdoor sites and species we have to lookinto,” Edwards said. “We need more staff and have to improve our datasystems.”
Right of PassageCrow said threats and opportunities abound.
“There’s a risk of anti-pesticide and anti-fertilizer amendments beingadded to almost any piece of legislation,” Crow said. “We have towatch this stuff 24 x 7. It’s the low-hanging fruit of environmentallaw.
“We’re an easy target right now,” Crow added, “but if we do our jobsright, we can get our products placed on the green credit side of theledger.”James concurred.
“We have to do a better job proactively promoting our products as theunderpinnings of sustainability,” he added. “If not now, then when?”
It’s not the best time to be hitting up suppliers and distributors formore money, but if RISE members don’t rise to the occasion now withBAG, things could get a lot worse in a hurry, Crow said.
“Everything we’ve been able to achieve will become much harder tomaintain in the very near future,” Crow said. “But everybodyrecognizes the threat. The timing of RISE’s Big Audacious Goal couldnot be better.”
FMC Corp.’s Dan Rosenbaum, Vice-Chair of RISE’s Governing Board,seconded the notion.
“In the growing green movement, there’s a widely accepted myth that‘natural’ is always better and ‘synthetic’ is bad,” Rosenbaum said.“These misconceptions pose very real threats to our businesses. Theseare obviously very challenging times, but now is the time for moredeliberate, focused action.”
Roland Rhodes of Rhodes Chemical said he’s 100-pecent behind BAG.
“If RISE was asking to double or triple our dues, I’d start squawking,but they’re not,” Rhodes said. “We’ve been sitting here basicallytwiddling our thumbs since the onset of the green era. It’s time tospeak up in a strong, singular voice.”
It’s all about unity of purpose, James added.
“It’s time to stand together and pull together like never before,”James said. “If any of you stand beside, we will be weakened, but youwill be weakened more.”
“We can never lose track of the fact that hanging together is the onlyway to avoid hanging,” added Jay Vroom, President of CropLife America.
About the AuthorMarty Whitford
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
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