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Community Meetings Around the Bay to Protest Impending Spraying of Pesticides long version
by Mahtin ( themahtin [at] hotmail.com )
Friday Feb 22nd, 2008 1:31 PM
Aerial spraying of pesticides in Monterey and Santa Cruz is set to continue and soon will come to the Bay Area. Pesticide opponents say, "This supposed "emergency" is the presence of the light brown apple moth in Bay Area counties, but like all toxic dumping by the agriculture industry, it is likely more about industry profits." While pro-environment organizations are calling on officials to use sticky traps instead of sprays, aerial treatments are scheduled to begin June 1st in the infested areas of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, with subsequent aerial treatments expected to begin August 1st in San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Oakland, Piedmont, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Tiburon and Belvedere.
Aerial spraying of pesticides in Monterey and Santa Cruz to control the light brown apple moth is set to continue and soon will come to the Bay Area. The moth has been spotted in locations from Los Angeles to Napa, including highly populated areas such as San Francisco, Berkeley and Marin County. Individual municipalities are unable to stop spraying plans because they are superseded by the State’s declaration of a state of emergency, which pesticide opponents say is put into place to avoid having to conduct an Environmental Impact Review. They say "This supposed “emergency” is the presence of the light brown apple moth in Bay Area counties, but like all toxic dumping by the agriculture industry, it is likely more about industry profits."

Four lawsuits have been filed in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. While pro-environment organizations are calling on officials to use sticky traps instead of sprays, aerial treatments are scheduled to begin June 1st in the infested areas of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, with subsequent aerial treatments expected to begin August 1st in San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Oakland, Piedmont, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Tiburon, and Belvedere. The “pheromones” that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been spraying are synthetic and contain toxic components that have made hundreds of people sick, with the homeless particularly impacted. Nearly 3000 people have signed a petition opposing the spraying. Various city officials have taken a stand against the spraying, including the Mayor and City Council of Albany, which unanimously resolved to stand in opposition to the State’s spray campaign.

Organizers are encouraging people to get involved in opposing the spraying by attending community and/or city council meetings, writing letters to the editors, and taking many other actions. The CDFA has hired the PR firm Porter Novelli, a company that is helping Dow Chemical (of napalm and Agent Orange fame) to put on a friendly public face. Pesticide opponents say that the CDFA has made it very clear that it is determined to continue spraying people’s homes and gardens against the will of the residents in the areas that are sprayed. The CDFA will be holding "scoping" meetings to hear public comments regarding their Environmental Impact Review (EIR) process, although spraying is not dependent on completion of such a review. Meetings have been scheduled for Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Oakland. The deadline for oral and written comments is March 20th, 2008. To prepare for talking with the CDFA, and to hear from grassroots opposition to the pesticide program, East Bay Pesticide Alert/Don't Spray California will present "Who's afraid of the Light Brown Apple Moth?" in San Leandro on Sunday, February 24th at 1:30pm. More info about scoping meetings

Jared Blumenthal, the director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment, said the city is opposed to the aerial spraying because it doesn't work in eradicating the pest. "We don't think aerial spraying works," Blumenthal said. "Our first preference is ground treatments in San Francisco, like in Golden Gate Park. Or finding a natural enemy, like a nonstinging wasp, that is introduced to deal with this issue once and for all."

Some past Indybay coverage of the LBAM Spraying:
2/14: CDFA News Release on LBAM | $74.5 Million Earmarked To Aerial Spray Parts of San Francisco Bay Area | LBAM spraying postponed until June 2008 | SC-IMC: 643 Documented Complaints Following Aerial Pesticide Spraying | A list of symptoms experienced by those already sprayed | $74.5 Million Earmarked To Aerial Spray Parts of San Francisco Bay Area (2/2/08) | 26th National Pesticide Forum - March 14-16 at UC Berkeley | 12/10/2007: New Toxicology Report Proves Costly Long and Short-Term Health Effects From Aerial Spray | 11/9: CA Dept of Food and Agriculture starts blind guinea pig test over Santa Cruz | 11/6: Napa county quarantine for LBAM ends | 11/6: Weather Continues to Prevent Biochemical Spraying Over Santa Cruz | 11/1: Biochemical Spraying to Begin in North Monterey County and Santa Cruz County | 10/12: Suterra Issues Cease and Desist Letter to Indybay regarding "Secret" Pesticide Ingredient; Monterey County Judge Halts Spraying | 9/12: "Aerial Applications of CheckMate®OLR-F Are Necessary in Your Area"

Map of planned areas to be sprayed | Stop the Spray | LBAM Spray Info | East Bay Pesticide Alert | California Alliance to Stop the Spray | Stop Overhead Spraying listserv | Hope for Truth | CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture Light Brown Apple Moth Project | Pesticide Action Network of North America
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S.F. Dept. of Environment Silent On Aerial Spraying Until NowS.F. InsiderSaturday Feb 23rd, 2008 7:40 PM