Gov. okays moth spraying, despite concern

April 16, 2008 6:05:18 PM PDT
Tuesday, two cities went on record opposing the aerial spraying to stop the light brown apple moth, scheduled for this summer. Despite the resistance, the Governor insists the spray is safe, but local governments aren't convinced. Alameda and San Francisco want more testing before the aerial spraying begins.

It didn't take long for the Alameda City Council to go on record opposing the State's aerial spraying plan, aimed at eradicating the highly invasive light brown apple moth.

"There's power in numbers and I think we can back them off if a number of cities protest this, we'll go all that we can to prevent that from happening here," said Frank Matarrese, Alameda City Councilmember.

It's clear, the power in numbers concept is catching on. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a similar resolution on Tuesday.

"San Francisco is not a petri dish, it's not a laboratory for the state to exact any kind of environmental science," said Ross Mirkarimi, SF Supervisor.

The aerial spraying is scheduled to begin in the Bay Area on August 1st. It will affect five counties: San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa. The spray will consist of a synthetic pheromone which confuses male moths and stops them from mating.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) insists the chemical is safe and says spraying is critical, otherwise the State's Agriculture industry will suffer.

"Our agriculture products is one of the greatest exports that we have here in California. If we have a problem, they will detect it and Mexico, or Canada, or China, or anyone like this will cut us off. There will be billions of dollars in lost revenue," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

But Mike Lynberg and other Santa Cruz and Monterey County residents who were exposed to the spray last year say the pheromone is not safe.

Respiratory problems, skin rashes and headaches have been among their complaints.

"I don't buy it. I don't know how the governor can say that. The state did not meet with a single person who got sick. They did not meet with a single doctor of someone who got sick," said Mike Lynberg, a Pacific Grove resident.

Which is why opponents of aerial spraying say they will continue to do everything they can to stop it and politicians are getting plenty of support from their constituents.

State Senator Carole Migden has joined in on the fight. She's backing a bill calling for a one-year moratorium on the spraying.

Information from the State:
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/lbam/lbam_main.html

From the Pesticide Action Network page:
http://www.panna.org/resources/lbam

From the makers of CheckMate LBAM-F:
http://www.suterra.com/.docs/rid/10007/pg/press_releases.html

From the EPA:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/local/region9/lbam_quarantine.htm


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