Agrees On Compromised Pesticide Reporting Law
(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2005) According to the Associated Press, a scaled-down version of the Oregon Pesticide Use Reporting System will be starting up again in January, after being stalled for years by opposition from agriculture and pesticide industry interests. The law requiring farmers, government agencies and commercial pesticide users to keep records on the pesticides they use was passed in 1999 to inform the public about when, where and in what amounts pesticides are used. The pro-pesticide lobby has stalled it from being implemented for more than five years.
A compromise was recently reached by the state legislature to get the program back on track, however, it will be provide much less information to the public than consumers and environmentalists requested. Environmental groups and many Democrats said pesticide use should be reported according to township, range and section coordinates so that the information could be specific enough to be of use to consumers and researchers.
The AP reported that the pesticide industry and Republican lawmakers had argued that large, less specific reporting areas were necessary to protect farmers and ranchers who use pesticides from targeted for sabotage by radical environmentalists. Under the compromise worked out by legislators, the reporting area will be by river basin – the state is divided into 15 water basins, districts that in some cases cover thousands of square miles – which is significantly larger than what environmental groups wanted.
Besides the lack of geographic specificity, the compromised law also has a 2009 expiration date. Its proponents had hoped to collect eight years' worth of data. Now, there will only be three, Aimee Code of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides told the Register-Guard, a newspaper based in Eugene, OR. “The Senate made a good-faith effort to put forward an important public program to determine if these chemicals are causing problems and if so, how,” Ms. Code said. “But it's a system that's going to waste a lot of money and may not get us very far in that understanding.”