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Minnesota Introduces Bee-Friendly Pesticide Legislation and Fights for Local Rights

Friday, February 21st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2020) Last week in Minnesota, state Representative Jean Wagenius introduced measure H.F. 1255 that would give cities the opportunity to ban local use of bee-lethal pesticides. This is the latest in a series of attempts to fight state pesticide preemption, an industry-promoted law that prevents localities from restricting pesticide use more stringently than the state. In the face of inaction at the federal and state levels, advocates and legislators in Minnesota are attempting to regain local control to help save their declining, Midwestern pollinators. Representative Wagenius says about the measure, “Minnesotans should be able to protect pollinators if they want to. We value local control in this state, and we always have.” H.F. 1255 will allow cities to opt into a blanket ban of pesticides determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be hazardous to bees. Pesticides with an EPA bee-advisory box are listed on the state’s Department of Agriculture website and referred to as “bee-lethal” by Minnesota legislators. Patrick Hanlon, director of environmental programs for the city of Minneapolis, says cities would work with Department of Agriculture, businesses, and residents that might be impacted by these restrictions before enacting the bill. Local advocates have […]

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“Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that” Dicamba Weed Killer

Friday, February 14th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2020) The weed killer dicamba has been blamed for killing or damaging millions of acres of non–genetically modified crops and other plants that have no protection against the compound. Litigation, legislation, and manufacturer machination abound as dicamba damage mounts. The trial in a suit filed in 2016 by a Missouri peach farmer against dicamba manufacturers Bayer and BASF has just begun; an Indiana state laboratory struggles to keep up with demand to evaluate dicamba damage; Idaho lawmakers are poised to weaken rules that protect farmworkers who apply dicamba (and other pesticides) aerially; agricultural officials in Missouri are pressuring the state legislature to increase funding to handle the exploding numbers of dicamba complaints; and Indiana’s legislature is considering two bills aimed at curtailing dicamba drift that kills neighboring crops. This Daily News Blog will round up the plethora of recent news on dicamba — the toxic and destructive culprit behind each of these stories. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate dicamba hazards, states have been scrambling to enact limits on when and how dicamba can be used, amend buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban its use outright. […]

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Malibu, California Passes Pesticide Ban in a Big Win for Local Wildlife

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2020) In a hard-earned win, the city of Malibu, California collaborated with the Coastal Commission to ban toxic pesticide use in their community. While the city had already voted to ban all toxic pesticides back in 2016, the state’s pesticide law preempts, or prohibits, a municipality from restricting private use of pesticides more stringently than the state. However, the Coastal Commission, as a state agency that establishes agreements with municipalities—known as a “Local Coastal Program” or “LCP”—circumvents the preemption issue. The  municipal agreement document codifies regulations that are set up between the Coastal Commission and a local jurisdiction. On December 9, 2019, Malibu City Council unanimously voted to amend Malibu LCP to ban the use of toxic pesticides. Many advocates gave passionate testimony at the voting session, including environmental experts and attorneys that spoke to the legality of the move and the legal protection from predicted pesticide industry backlash. Activist Joel Schulman of Poison Free Malibu said about the ban, “We’re basing our local coastal program amendment on what [unincorporated L.A.] County did in 2014.” That year, L.A. County and the Coastal Commission banned anticoagulant rodenticides and some toxic pesticides in the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains […]

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Court Strikes Down Aerial Pesticide Spray Ban in Lincoln County, Oregon — Challenging Local Rights to Protect Communities

Friday, October 4th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2019) A Circuit Court judge in Lincoln County, Oregon has overturned a hard-won ban on aerial spraying of pesticides, citing preemption of state law over any local ordinance. In her late-September decision, Judge Sheryl Bachart wrote that Oregon’s Pesticide Control Act “expressly and conclusively displaces any local ordinance regarding pesticide use. The intention of the legislature is apparent and unambiguous.” She noted in her opinion that the Oregon Revised Statutes (the codified laws of the state of Oregon), Chapter 634.057 “prohibits local governments from making any ordinance, rule or regulation governing pesticide sale or use.” Voters in the county approved the subject ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides (Measure 21-177) in 2017, the initiative having been spurred by the work of Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR), a grassroots organization that “seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety.” In its advocacy for the initiative, the group cited both the harm done by aerial pesticide spraying to people and ecosystems, and the injustice of laws — often drafted by corporations for approval […]

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Study Finds Urban Runoff Is a Toxic Soup Containing Dozens of Pesticides and Other Industrial Chemicals

Friday, September 6th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2019) Heavy rains in urban areas bring together a toxic mixture of man-made chemicals which make their way to waterbodies at levels that can harm aquatic life, according to new research published by a team of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although U.S. government agencies continue to accurately identify chemical hazards in the everyday environment, precaution and action on these emerging threats has not materialized. In the face of important federal data without subsequent federal action, it is up to states and local communities to regulate the discharge of toxic pesticides and other chemicals that ultimately flow into rivers, lakes, and streams communities rely on for fishing, swimming, and drinking water. Researchers aimed to provide a national snapshot of the contents of urban stormwater discharge by sampling 21 sites in 17 states over the course of 50 rainfall events. Samples were taken at sites where stormwater is discharged from buildings, parking lots, roads, and other urban landscapes before making its way into ground or surface water. The team tested for 438 different compounds, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other industrial chemicals. Nearly 50% (215) of the 438 chemicals […]

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Court Upholds Right of Local Maryland County to Restrict Pesticides, Rejects Pesticide and Lawn Care Industry Stomping on Local Rights

Monday, July 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2019)  On Friday, Maryland’s highest court upheld the right of local governments to restrict the use of toxic lawn care pesticides more stringently than the state. By denying an appeal from the pesticide industry’s challenge to a lower court ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals has made official Montgomery County’s 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits toxic pesticides from being used on public and private property for cosmetic purposes. “This long-awaited decision affirms local democratic decision making to protect health and the environment, upholding the first U.S. county law to ban toxic pesticides on private and public property,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of the organization Beyond Pesticides. “The law, now in force, will bring critical health protections for pregnant mothers, children and other vulnerable residents in Montgomery County, and safeguard sensitive wildlife species like pollinators.” The decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied […]

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State Court Upholds the Right of Local Governments in Maryland to Restrict Pesticides on All Lawns in Their Jurisdiction

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2019) A Maryland Court of Special Appeals yesterday ruled that Montgomery County, Maryland has the right to restrict pesticides, under a 2015 landmark law, on all lawns and landscaped property in its jurisdiction more stringently than the state. This decision reverses a lower Circuit Court decision and upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by the industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. Nine organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, filed an Amicus brief in support of the county law. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied 43 states to preempt their local political subdivisions’ authority. Seven states uphold local authority, including the state of Maryland, which has affirmed in its legislature the rights of localities by rejecting preemption legislation on numerous occasions. According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, “This is an important win for the local organic land management movement sweeping the country, as local elected officials embrace practices that protect the health of people and the environment.” The attorneys for the county expect that industry groups […]

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Take Action: Protect Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2019) Help stop another attack on local authority in Maine – a bellwether state that has upheld local pesticide restrictions and leads the nation. Maine has led the nation in supporting the local democratic process as communities across the state have adopted pesticide use standards on public and private property that are more restrictive than state laws. This will be the third attack on local authority in recent years – each time beaten back with public opposition. This time preemption language has been introduced as a clause in the innocuous sounding bill LD 1518, An Act to Establish a Fund for Portions of the Operations and Outreach Activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory and To Increase Statewide Enforcement of Pesticide Use. The language was introduced by Rep. Stephen Stanley (D), who ran unopposed in the 2018 Democratic primary. The bill’s language establishes barriers to local decision making, giving sole authority to the state to determine the acceptability of local pesticide restrictions.  As drafted, the bill would force municipalities to submit a request to ban a substance to a statewide board, which would make the decision as to whether the community could block […]

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EPA Wants to Squelch State Authority to Adopt Pesticide Restrictions More Protective than the Fed

Friday, March 29th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a low-key announcement on March 19 suggesting that it may change its handling of requests from states to exert stricter controls on use of pesticides than the federal agency sets out in its registration of the compounds — by disapproving them. This is potentially a big deal because it signals that the agency will be less-kindly disposed to states’ desires to establish either somewhat different parameters of use based on local conditions and needs, or more-stringent regulations on pesticide use than those set out by federal regulators. This issue of preemption of localities’ desires to protect their populations and environment has become an increasingly dynamic frontier at the nexus of pesticide use, health, and environment. Beyond Pesticides has written more frequently about this issue in recent years as the tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation has risen; see more below. EPA appears distressed by some of the approximately 300 annual requests it gets to make some adjustment to the federal regulation. This can happen under Section 24(c) of FIFRA, which allows for a Special Local Need Label, which can be requested under a variety of conditions, including […]

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Study Finds Public Health Threatened by State Laws that Preempt Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides Community-wide

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2019) A study, supported by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, finds that state pesticide preemption laws “compromise public health and economic well-being” by preventing localities from enacting pesticide use restrictions on private property that are more restrictive than their state’s regulations. In the words of the authors, “By eliminating the ability of local governments to enact ordinances to safeguard inhabitants from health risks posed by pesticides, state preemption laws denigrate public health protections.” The study, Anti-community state pesticide preemption laws prevent local governments from protecting people from harm, published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, reviews scientific and historical evidence of the failure of state and federal pesticide laws to protect localities from pesticide poisoning, and highlights the inability of localities to compensate for that failure under present laws. Communities seeking to protect their residents would typically issue community-wide restrictions to ensure protection of shared community resources, including air, land, and waterways, from pesticide drift, runoff, and other nontarget effects —as is the case with other community decisions on recycling, smoking, and zoning. The study’s authors document how industry influence led to the adoption of state laws that undermine the ability of localities […]

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Largest County in Maryland Bans Glyphosate (Roundup) in Its Parks, Pending Complete Pesticide Ban

Friday, February 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2019) Prior to a pesticide ban taking effect in Montgomery County Maryland Parks, the Department of Parks announced in mid-December 2018 that it would discontinue the use of glyphosate-based herbicides through March 2019. The agency has used these hazardous herbicides as part of its IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program for weed management. Montgomery Parks indicates it will release further information on the use of glyphosate in mid-March. In November last year, Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker wrote to the head of Parks, supported by a community-wide petition, urging that glyphosate be banned immediately, pending implementation of the county ban. He cited the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (World Health Organization) finding that the chemical probably causes cancer in humans and the $289 million jury verdict last year that the chemical caused a school groundskeeper’s non Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2016, Montgomery Parks instituted a pesticide reduction program in compliance with Montgomery County, Maryland’s 2015 adoption of County Code 33B, which aimed to regulate use of pesticides on county-owned property, including parks, and on private property. In 2017, a Montgomery Circuit Court overturned the portion of the law pertaining to a ban on private […]

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Time for a Green New Deal to Accelerate the Organic Transition

Monday, January 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2019) As the dust settles on the final Farm Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last month, it is clear that neither the substance nor the process on a range of issues meet the urgent need to address key sustainability issues that put the future in peril. We must not allow this Farm Bill to be the final word on a number of critical environmental issues facing the nation and world. That is why it is absolutely critical that we get to work immediately, with the new Congress, to set a new course that transforms the institutions of government that are holding back the urgently needed transition to a green economy. Tell your Senators and Representative to support a Green New Deal that restructures food and agriculture programs. On the Farm Bill, our victories were mostly measured in terms of what we were able to remove from the Farm Bill—not the standard of achievement that we need to face critical environmental threats.  The good. Our major victory in the Farm Bill does not move us forward, but simply protects the status quo of our democracy—protecting the power of states and local government to […]

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Analysis: Wins and Losses in the Farm Bill—Time for a Green New Deal

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2018) As the dust still settles on the final Farm Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last week, it is clear that neither the substance nor the process on a range of issues meet the urgent need to address key sustainability issues that put the future in peril. We must not allow this Farm Bill to be the final word on a number of critical environmental and public health issues facing the nation and world. That is why it is absolutely critical that we get to work immediately, with the new Congress, to set a new course that transforms the institutions of government that are holding back the urgently needed transition to a green economy. On the Farm Bill, our victories were mostly measured in terms of what we were able to remove from the legislation—not the standard of achievement that we need to face critical environmental threats. The good. Our major victory in the Farm Bill does not move us forward, but simply protects the status quo of our democracy—protecting the power of states and local government to adopt pesticide restrictions that are more stringent than the federal government. With your help […]

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Take Action: Let Towns Keep the Right to Restrict Pesticides in Their Communities

Monday, October 1st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2018) Last year, pesticide manufacturers tried to undo local pesticide ordinances in a large state-by-state lobbying effort. That failed. Now they are trying to get Congress to undo these local rules in one fell swoop through an amendment in the Farm Bill. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of local governments to restrict pesticides. The chemical industry’s attempt to take away the power of local governments to regulate the use of pesticides was wrong then and it is wrong now –more so, given the current weakening of federal pesticide programs. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper! The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades. Against a backdrop of decades of pro-pesticide lobbying to limit local authority to restrict pesticide use in our communities and despite industry’s success, there has been nationwide action at the local level. In most states, local authority, under state law, is limited to restrictions on public property, and seven states have affirmed the right of localities to restrict pesticides on all land within its jurisdiction. Because of effective efforts across the state of Maine, […]

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Over 60 Local Officials Call on Congress to Protect Local Authority to Restrict Toxic Pesticides in the Farm Bill

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2018) House proposal would wipe out communities’ power to restrict pesticides. In an effort to protect the rights of communities nationwide, over 60 local officials from across the country sent a letter to Congress today opposing a farm bill provision that takes away local governments’ authority to restrict hazardous pesticides. The signatories are urging the farm bill conference committee to reject a “poison pill” rider that will preempt local governments, making the entire legislation unacceptable. Section 9101 of the House version of the farm bill will institute federal preemption of local pesticide policies, a move that will overturn a decades-old Supreme Court decision and prevent communities from adopting protective laws that meet the needs of their residents or unique local environment. The letter urges the conference committee to reach an agreement on a final 2018 farm bill that does not include this rider. It was signed by over 60 local officials in 39 communities from 15 different states, ranging from North Miami, FL to South Euclid, OH, West Hollywood, CA and Maui, HI. The County Council of Montgomery County, MD, which passed a landmark policy on toxic pesticides, also sent a letter to the farm bill conference committee. […]

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House GOP Seeks to Scuttle Playground Bans on Glyphosate

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2018) Local Limits on Spraying Monsanto’s Toxic Weed Killer in Parks, Playgrounds, and Schoolyards. More than 50 city and county ordinances banning the use of the toxic weed killer glyphosate on local playgrounds, parks and schoolyards could be overturned by a provision championed by House Republicans in their version of the farm bill, a Beyond Pesticides and EWG analysis found. A four-page provision tucked away in the 748-page farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June would likely preempt local governments from adopting their own pesticide regulations, including ordinances that prohibit the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, in parks and playgrounds. Beyond Pesticides found that 58 local ordinances ban the use of glyphosate. Overall, 155 local ordinances that regulate the use of toxic chemicals in parks and playgrounds could be preempted by Sec. 9101 of the House’s farm bill. Glyphosate is classified by the state of California as a chemical known to cause cancer, and as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Earlier this month, a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who said years of working with Roundup caused his terminal cancer. […]

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Study Finds Bumblebees Increasingly Attracted to the Pesticides that Kill Them

Friday, August 31st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2018) Given the choice to forage on untreated or pesticide-contaminated food sources, bees will increasingly choose the pesticide, according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in late August. The data indicate that risks to pollinators grow, rather than wane, over time, making improved regulation over bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides even more climacteric. In essence, the study indicates that bees may be undertaking the human equivalent of chain-smoking themselves to death. Authors of the study note that numerous studies have been performed that subject bees to neonicotinoid-treated food, however this research generally allows pollinators to only forage on contaminated sources. While this provides important information on hazard criteria, it does not indicate risk of exposure. Positing the idea that pollinators may eventually seek to avoid neonicotinoid-contaminated nectar, researchers provided bumblebee colonies with a choice over the course of 10 days. At the start, the bees exhibited no discernable preference between toxic and nontoxic food. However, as time went on more and more bees fed from nectar laced with thiamethoxam, a widely used neonicotinoid. By the end of the experiment, food containing 2 parts per billion of the pesticide was eaten 10% more than in […]

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Tell House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Stop Congress from Trampling the Right of Communities to Restrict Pesticides

Friday, August 24th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2018)  We must stop the adoption of a law that will prevent local communities from restricting pesticides. Request that Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi lead the effort to protect a basic principle of local democratic decision making, especially in light of inadequate federal environmental and health protections. As a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Rep. Pelosi can stop this provision, which was unanimously rejected by Democrats in the House and is not in the Senate Farm Bill. Tell Nancy Pelosi to stand up for democracy, public health, and environmental protection in the Farm Bill! In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.2 (the Farm Bill) with a provision that prohibits local governments from restricting pesticide use on private property within their jurisdictions. Existing local laws in two states, Maine and Maryland, will be overturned with final passage of this law. In those 43 states that forbid local pesticide laws by state law, future reconsideration of such state prohibitions would be foreclosed —a squelching of local authority pushed by the chemical and pest management industries. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to […]

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Franklin Park, IL Joins Other Towns in Asking State Legislature to Repeal Prohibition (Preemption) of Local Pesticide Laws

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2018) The Village of Franklin Park has become the third and latest community in the state of Illinois to pass a resolution urging the state legislature to repeal its preemption statute, which prevents localities from passing laws that are stricter than the state’s pesticide law. The victory in Franklin Park comes after the Village of Oak Park and town of Evanston, IL both passed their own preemption repeal resolutions in February 2017. Advocates who pushed for these resolutions, including regional groups Go Green Oak Park and Midwest Pesticide Action Center (MPAC), are hoping Franklin Park’s move is a sign of more local action to come on this critical democratic principle. Meanwhile, Congress is considering a provision in the Farm Bill that will prohibit, or preempt, local municipalities from restricting pesticides in their jurisdictions. “Illinois beekeepers reported the second highest bee mortality rate in 2015,” said MPAC’s Assistant Director and Communications Manager Ryan Anderson. “MPAC supports local action over state action in these cases where state pesticide regulations do not do enough to protect pollinators, children, and wildlife.” A 1991 Supreme Court Case, Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, established that federal pesticide law – the Federal Insecticide Fungicide […]

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Group Releases Report on Toxic Pesticides Used in Its Region

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2018) Empire State Consumer Project (ESCP), a regional group in Upstate New York, has published its 2018 Government Pesticide Survey, highlighting the use of hazardous landscape pesticides by local governments in the area. The group’s work shines a light on communities using too many hazardous chemicals, but also calls attention to towns and villages using pesticide-free practices. By making use of New York State’s open record laws, ESCP provides a good model for other local and regional groups to follow. ESCP surveyed over 30 different towns and villages in Monroe County, NY through the use of a public records request the group provided a copy of at the end of its report. The majority of towns did apply toxic pesticides, with glyphosate being the most widely used. While many towns only used one or two different products, some communities, like the town of Pittsford and the village of Spencerport, used 17 and 18 different pesticide products, respectively. However, five towns (Brighton, East Rochester, Gates, Ogden, and Parma), and three villages (Brockport, Pittsford, and Scottsville) indicated they used no pesticides at all to manage their public spaces. “Town, village and county parks, office complexes, and roadways are […]

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Federal Bill Benefits Monsanto/Bayer, Overriding Labeling of Roundup/Glyphosate as a Carcinogen under California Law

Monday, July 16th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2018)  Legislative Sneak Attacks Continue. Yet another bill has been introduced in Congress to remove accountability from Monsanto/Bayer for its glyphosate herbicide Roundup.™ The so-called “Accurate Labels Act” (S.3019/H.R.6022) would repeal most, if not all, existing labeling and information disclosure laws adopted by state or local governments, including California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65), which has been responsible for the removal of hundreds of dangerous toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium, and mercury, from commercial and consumer products nationwide. California listed Roundup as a probable carcinogen in 2015, requiring a label warning in the state, and California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the decision in April of this year, rejecting Monsanto’s challenge to the listing. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to oppose S.3019/H.R.6022. California will not only move ahead with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate, but also, prohibit discharge of the pesticide into public waterways. Proposition 65 requires notification, primarily through labeling, of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into the state’s drinking waters. As with previous sneak attacks, Monsanto’s fingerprints — if not its name – are all over […]

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Groups Defend Local Right to Protect Children and Community from Pesticides; Lawn Care Industry Attacks Local Authority

Monday, June 25th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2018) Ten organizations filed an Amicus brief last week in support of a 2015 landmark Montgomery County, Maryland ordinance that restricts the use of toxic pesticides on public and private land within its jurisdiction. The law, intended to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of lawn and landscape pesticide use, is on appeal from a Circuit Court ruling in August 2017 which struck down aspects of the ordinance that apply to private property. The Montgomery County Council decided to appeal the Circuit Court ruling based on an outpouring of public support, and the advice of its legal team that the County has a reasonable chance of prevailing. The case will now be heard in front of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. The plaintiffs in the case, which include the pesticide industry group Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), local chemical lawn care companies, and a few individuals, allege that the local ordinance is preempted by state law, despite the fact that Maryland is one of seven states that has not explicitly taken away (or preempted) local authority to restrict pesticides more stringently than the state. The law at […]

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Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards

Monday, April 30th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2018) Organic standards are under attack in the Farm Bill, H.R. 2, passed by the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and in language emerging in the Senate Agriculture Committee. This adds to the attacks on which we have previously taken action. Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) gives the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) broad authority and responsibility to ensure organic integrity. The Farm Bill contains provisions that: Will permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sidestep the NOSB in allowing post-harvest handling substances (sanitizers) to be used in organic production; Change the classification of types of people who may be appointed to the NOSB by adding employees of farmers, handlers, and retailers; and Force consideration of the judgment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when those agencies find a material to meet their own (less stringent) criteria for use. These provisions are a direct attack on the strength of organic standards. When OFPA was passed and placed under USDA authority, Congress established a board composed of members of the organic community –farmers, handlers/processors, […]

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