Urge DPR to stop the backpedaling on regulations to reduce pesticide smog!

Urge DPR to stop the backpedaling on regulations to reduce pesticide smog!


On November 28th the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released new draft regulations to address smog-forming pesticides. The draft regulations seriously backpedal on DPR’s promise to reduce smog-forming pesticides in the five air basins across the state- especially in the San Joaquin Valley. DPR is cheating Californians out of their right to breathe clean air and avoiding real use reductions of smog-forming pesticides.  Voice your opposition in writing by Jan 15th and in person at the public hearings January 12th in Bakersfield and January 14th in Sacramento.

Take Action Now! Demand DPR to comply fully with the Clean Air Act by reducing the use of smog-forming pesticides.

California Department of Pesticide Regulations


Background

Pesticides are one of the largest contributors to smog in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura County and a major contributor in the Southeast Desert, which includes the Coachella Valley. DPR should prioritize pesticide use reduction because pesticides are highly toxic, causing many mass farm worker and community poisonings, and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from pesticides contribute to smog and fine particulate matter formation. The only guaranteed way to reduce smog-forming, particulate matter-forming, and toxic emissions from pesticides is to reduce pesticide use.

Ozone pollution – commonly called smog – is a summer time pollutant and damages lung tissue, exacerbates asthma, reduces lung capacity, increases respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, and increases school and work absenteeism.  Fine particulate matter is a wintertime pollutant that exacerbates asthma and causes death in people with heart or lung disease.  The failure to meet smog and fine particle standards costs Valley residents at least $5.7 billon each year in health costs, or $1,600 per person. Agriculture – just like everyone else – needs to do its fair share to clean up the air.

Regulations to reduce the VOC from pesticides are long overdue. In the mid 1990’s, California regulators promised to adopt regulations that would reduce VOC from pesticides by 20% below 1990 levels in five air basins by 2005. But the regulations did not keep their promise, leaving Californians to breathe polluted air.

The proposed regulations do little to change the status quo. In particular, they do not mandate pesticide use reduction. Instead, they allow growers to use the same amount of pesticides or even more by only changing product formulations and application techniques. The benefit from this approach is far less certain than real pesticide use reduction.They do not meet the 20% reduction in VOC promised in a 1996 commitment that EPA approved. DPR wants to break its promise to Californians by proposing to cut back VOC from pesticides by only 12% in the San Joaquin Valley.  This violates federal law in the EPA-approved State Implementation Plan, the collection of rules and regulations that are supposed to achieve clean air for Californians, and the Clean Air Act.

We must voice strong opposition to this backpedaling and promise-breaking now and demand that DPR adopt strong regulations to protect people’s health. Californians deserve to breathe clean air.