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Ca.Bay Area Meet:L.Brown Apple Moth(LBAM)Draft Enviro. Impact Report:1515 Clay St. Oakland
Date Tuesday September 01
Time 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Location Details
Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Tues. Sept. 1, 5:30-7:30 PM, Elihu Harris Building auditorium, 1515 Clay St., Oakland.
Event Type Meeting
Phone415 479 1888
Stop the Spray San Francisco
August 28, 2009
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We need to rally large numbers of people to attend and speak at the state's Bay Area meeting

The LBAM program is as unsafe, unnecessary, and ineffective as it ever was, and the EIR is a remarkably flawed document that does not address the program's actual health and environmental impact or any of the fundamental questions about the program that we and many others raised during the EIR preparation ("scoping") process last year.

THIS IS THE ONLY PUBLIC MEETING ABOUT THE DRAFT EIR IN THE BAY AREA and the last meeting in the series that the state has held in the past 2 weeks, so we need to fill the room with people who will speak to the questions and concerns about this EIR. Comments we make now will be crucial for challenging the program as the environmental assessment process continues.

Below are some general comments about the EIR's flaws and some questions that we might pose about the LBAM program. Feel free to use these suggestions the basis for your testimony and written comments. Instructions below also for sending in written comments on the Draft EIR.

Thanks for your ongoing support. If you testify at the meeting next week or send in written comments on the EIR by the Sept. 28 deadline, please forward a copy to this email so we can track whether the final EIR addresses our comments.


Stop the Spray East Bay & Pesticide Watch
Key Concerns: Draft Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Eradication Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Several people have asked about how the EIR process works. Here is a very brief summary: any agency or private entity that wants to carry out a project that might have an environmental or health impact has to, under the California Environmental Quality Act, prepare an EIR. The steps are: scoping (collecting concerns and questions from the public), draft EIR (this is where we are now), final EIR (more comment accepted on the final). When an EIR covers a large program (as this one does), it is k nown as "programmatic" EIR, and smaller specific follow-up EIRs are usually required for the specific elements of the program.

The California Senate Agriculture committee held a hearing on the EIR earlier this week at which many LBAM experts as well as spokespeople for Stop the Spray East Bay raised these and many more issues; we need to keep pressing these issues so that there is no doubt that these concerns are widespread and that if the final draft of the EIR ignores them, it will be open to challenge for not having addressed the public's concerns.

The state is currently taking comments on the draft LBAM EIR at public meetings and in writing. This summary is designed to assist those who wish to comment on the EIR.

The draft EIR is based on flawed assumptions and incomplete, invalid science and does not adequately assess the LBAM program and its impacts. Specifically, the draft EIR:

1. Fails to address any of the flawed assumptions on which the LBAM program has been based. It does not address substantial evidence that LBAM is well established in California and poses no threat, so no quarantines or treatments are needed. The EIR assumes eradication as the program's goal even though there is substantial evidence that eradication is neither feasible nor achievable. As a result, the EIR dismisses non-toxic control strategies such as integrated pest management.

2. Does not assess the impacts of the LBAM program as a whole. The EIR evaluates each proposed LBAM eradication treatment* separately without accounting for the fact that these treatments would be used in combination; thus, the EIR does not adequately assess the actual health and environmental impacts of the program as a whole.

3. Draws unsubstantiated, not credible conclusions about the risks of the proposed treatments. For example, the EIR, astonishingly, finds no negative health or environmental impacts from ground or aerial pesticide spraying even though aerial spraying sickened hundreds of people on the Central Coast in 2007. Ironically, the EIR concludes that the only negative impact of aerial spray would be airplane noise.

4. Defines the treatment area too broadly. The EIR identifies almost the entire state, with its widely variable geographic and ecological zones, as the potential LBAM treatment area without specifying what treatments would be used where, when, or how or what the environmental impacts in a given area would be.

5. Misrepresents "no action" alternative. The EIR defines the "do nothing" alternative (which EIRs are required to include) as a scenario in which private landowners would use large amounts of dangerous pesticides to try to control the moth even though there is no factual evidence to support this assumption; as a result, the EIR finds that the "no action" alternative has more severe environmental consequences than the multiple mass chemical and other
treatments the state proposes to use for LBAM.

* twist ties, ground and aerial applications of pheromone based pesticides, permethrin "SPLAT," Bt, Spinosad, predator wasp release, sterile moth
release; the aerial applications are assumed to use a form of the pesticide that is encased in 1/8" square flakes.


Some Light Brown Apple Moth Draft Environmental Impact Report IR (DEIR) Questions

One thing missing from the draft EIR is discussion of the justification for implementing the apple moth program in the first place. One of the main comments of my constituents during the scoping process was the need to for a comprehensive review of the literature and evidence regarding the threat posed by the apple moth, the need for eradication, and the likelihood that eradication can succeed.

1) why does the EIR does not comprehensively review the scientific evidence for these basic premises on which the whole program is based: i.e., that eradication is necessary and can succeed?

2) what specific studies and data does the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have to support the claim that eradication is possible? can you give specific examples where other moth species established over thousands of square miles that have many host plants have been successfully eradicated?

3) what is CDFA's definition of what would constitute successful eradication of the apple moth? what are the time frame and criteria for deciding whether eradication can be achieved and, if it cannot be achieved, for terminating the program?

4) why are we discussing eradication in California when it is not being considered in Hawaii where the apple moth has been established for 100 years?

5) if eradication were taken off the table, how would CDFA recommend controlling the apple moth in California?

The DEIR states in several places that the apple moth is spreading in California.

1) why would this spread be occurring despite the two years of quarantines and restrictions imposed by your department?

2) to what extent have you expanded the numbers, locations, and efficiency of trapping during these two years, and how can you determine whether the increased finds of moths are due to these improvements in your protocol versus an actual increase in the geographic range of the moth? in other words, how do we know we are not simply delineating the established range of the moth rather than finding new "infestations?"

The DEIR says that both California agriculture and native forests are at risk if the moth is not eradicated.

1) What definitively confirmed damage has the apple moth done in the state? Is there any damage over the last two years beyond 1 unconfirmed instance of damage in a blackberry field?

2) What specific scientific evidence is there, from California or anywhere in the world, that native forests are at risk from the apple moth?

3) Given the lack of damage over the past 2 years what specific evidence can CDFA cite that damage from the apple moth will increase?

CDFA's annual LBAM report to the legislature says that a better, more definitive DNA test for the moth is needed along with information about the DNA of related moths, to ensure accurate identification.

1) If the current testing is not sufficiently accurate, how can CDFA be sure that the apple moth is present in a given location and/or responsible for damage in any particular location?

The "No Program" alternative in the EIR is based on the premise that private landowners will increase their use of pesticides because of the apple moth, causing more damage than would be done by the proposed chemical treatment alternatives. This determination was apparently made based on two internal memos by CDFA Project Director Robert Dowell who is also a main preparer of the EIR. Survey show that a very large percentage of the residents of my district use no pesticides at all in their homes and gardens.

1) Is there any hard evidence to support the allegation that program private landowner pesticide use will increase for the moth?
[if you yourself do not use pesticides in your home or yard, you could add a personal note here about your thoughts regarding the state's assumption that private landowners will voluntarily spray, particularly for a moth that does no damage]

2) If the moth does not do damage, why would homeowners use pesticides for it?

3) To what extent do private landowners use pesticides for other closely related leaf-roller moths now?

4) What is the standard protocol that farmers currently use for other native leaf-roller moths, and why would that protocol not control the apple moth as well, if control were in fact needed?

The EIR does not quantify the health and environmental impacts of the program as a whole; it only looks at individual treatments.

1) When does the state intend to quantify the environmental impacts of the program as a whole?

2) Prior state reports looked at only 10% of the health complaints submitted following aerial spraying for the moth in 2007. Are there any plans for a complete review of all the health complaints submitted?

The draft is a Programmatic EIR and addresses the program location very generally.

1) Does CDFA plan to prepare specific EIRs for each area of the state and the treatments to be used in that area?

Written comments on the LBAM EIR must be sent not later than close of business on Monday, September 28, 2009 to:
Jim Rains, Staff Environmental Scientist
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
fax (916) 654-1018
email jrains [at]

This summary of current events and issue status is from Nan Wishner of StoptheSpray - East Bay. Thank you Nan!

In Solidarity,

Michelle Darby
Coordinator, Stop the Spray - San Francisco
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Added to the calendar on Sunday Aug 30th, 2009 4:50 AM
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