Friday, March 26, 2010

Good News!

The following is partially excerpted from an article today in The Carmel Pine Cone.

"Last week, a California Department of Food and Agriculture spokesman conceded that the State of California would not be able to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth," an invasive insect that has been found in large numbers in California counties from Monterey north to the San Francisco Bay and beyond. "The spokesman said they would only be able to control the insect."

Action Now asserts that this distinction is extremely important, because when an insect pest is recognized as established - and therefore can no longer be completely eliminated - the State cannot consider the infestation an emergency. "Emergency" infestations allow for toxic pesticides to be applied without any environmental review, and are thus imposed on communities that have no legal recourse for protecting themselves and their neighborhoods from exposure to the harmful chemicals used.

The article continues: "In September and October of 2007, when eradication was still the goal, the state conducted aerial spraying of moth pheromones - a synthetic chemical intended to confuse males and make it difficult for them to locate potential mates - over Monterey and Santa Cruz county neighborhoods.

"But the operation ran into heated opposition among resident who said the pheromone made them sick. Environmental groups filed lawsuits over the LBAM aerial-spraying program.

Now instead of trying to eradicate the LBAM, large numbers of sterilized moths "are being produced in a facility in Moss Landing as part of state and federal efforts to control the pest. The number of sterile moths produced will increase dramatically over the next six months, an offical told reporters this week."

" 'Right now, we are producing about 40,000 sterile moths per week,' said U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, Larry Hawkins, on Monday. In September, 'when all of the new equipment is at capcity, we anticipate we will be producing 3 million to 4 million sterile moths per week.'

"So far, the only area where sterile moths are being released is Carneros, a wine region in Sonoma and Napa counties. However, it is not yet clear if the extra moths will be released only in those two counties, or in other areas in California affected by the moth.

" 'At some point in time, we want to release the moths in areas that are generally infested,' Hawkins said. 'We haven't determined where that is going to be.'

"On Tuesday, the state certified the environmnetal impact report for the LBAM program. The EIR found that it was unlikely treatments in the moth program would cause human or environmental damage,* and that more harm would be caused by widespread pesticide use by private parties in absense of the program. The state is currently only considering the release of sterile moths and the placement of pheromone twist ties on trees and plants to get rid of the insect, the EIR said."

*Action Now members have experienced first-hand in the past how EIRs prepared by state and federal agricultural officials never seem to find any adverse health effects caused by their pest eradication programs no matter how many folks report illnesses. But their admission that the moth infestation can no longer considered an "emergency" is welcome news! For more information on the LBAM issue go to Pesticide Action Network's website at and click on "resourses."


RobertW said...


1. For those who still believe the moth is dangerous to crops, check CDFA's Draft EIR (the main body of the Program EIR) and you will see that CDFA admits that LBAM has caused "NO CROP DAMAGE" in California (Draft EIR, Chapter #3, page 3-20 lines 6,7 and page 3-21 lines 3,4 below figure 3-16 "NO CROP DAMAGE"). Still, CDFA continues to deliver false claims of damage to the media to this day.

2. For those who claim to be "Expert" and assure you that LBAM has caused crop damage. With that "Expert," call the Agriculture Commissioner office in the county where your expert friend claims the damage occurred and you will find that there is NO DOCUMENTATION of such damage in any county in the State of California. All claims of damage have been FALSE stories fabricated by CDFA and then repeated by decent innocent people. Even some Agriculture commissioners still incorrectly think that damage has occurred in some other county, because they have heard the same FALSE stories. Make the call!

3. The new ground spray equipment that CDFA is planning to use can send the same aerial spray pesticides FIVE TIMES HIGHER than the planes dropped them from in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

4. The couple pesticides that CDFA claims are "Organic" are going to be applied in a manor that makes them more dangerous to our children than conventional pesticides applied on farms. Bacteria that is found in some specific soil samples is used as a pesticide in some organic farms. CDFA is planning to put that bacteria into the air, NOT ON FARMS, but IN OUR COMMUNITIES where our children breathe (and also our parents, grandparents, pets and friends breathe too).

5. The MARCH 23, 2010 Senator Florez hearing confirmed that LBAM has been in California for close to 50 years prior to being noticed. That information and #1 & #2 above conclusively demonstrate that LBAM is not the serious "Potential" pest that CDFA continues to claim. Rather, LBAM is nearly identical to other moths in its family that are native to California and easily handled by farmers along with thousands of other insects familiar to farmers.

6. CDFA SAID: the pesticide used on the people in 2007 was "Non-toxic. In three joint reports of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and Department of Public Health (DPH), all three agencies labeled the pesticide a category III toxin! The EPA has since disallowed the pesticide in the United States.

CDFA SAID: the moth had devastated California Crops. The official EIR documentation identified above, two superior courts and every Agriculture Commissioner office in the state show "NO CROP DAMAGE."

CDFA SAID: they can eradicate LBAM from California. Just days ago, the USDA declared that it is NOT feasible to eradicate LBAM from California. Highly qualified (not CDFA) scientists have been saying that for three years.

7. Sterile LBAM release is being promoted as the safe way to attack LBAM across the state of California. However, the hearing accurately identified that not one wild LBAM mating has been interfered with by Sterile LBAM release. LBAM does not have biological characteristics such that Sterile moth release will interfere with its mating. Also, the sterilization process applied to lab raised moths is such that lab raised moths will not and cannot effectively compete or interfere with wild LBAM mating.

CDFA pretending that "Sterile Insect Technology" is applicable for LBAM at this time is no less of a fraud than people 250 years ago claiming the development of the "Air Force" will assist winning the Revolutionary War.

If CDFA can still get this completely unnecessary, unsafe and totally inappropriate program re-started, the amount of taxpayer funds CDFA is targeting is not only a $100 Million often mentioned, but $100 Million PER YEAR. The program boundaries cover nearly the entire State of California!

A.Fanny said...

@RobertW: Thank you for your imortant and detailed comment. You have obviously done some exhaustive research. Action Now's issue was orignially the medfly, and we have seen the Sterile Insect Tecnique work for that issue even though the sterilized medflies are most likey not as "alluring" as the wild ones. If the moth SIT - for whatever reasons - can tamp down the perception of a problem, it might satisfy our trading partners so that quarantines can be lifted. What do you think?

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