California bill would allow local communities
to reclaim control of pesticide use
In 1979, voters in Mendocino County, CA banned aerial spraying of herbicides following an incident in which an aerial herbicide application drifted onto school buses.
The chemical industry then lobbied -- successfully -- to change California's Food and Agriculture Code to prohibit such local regulations. This "preemption" law, adopted in 1984, says that "no ordinance or regulation of local government . . . may prohibit or in any way attempt to regulate any matter relating to the registration, sale, transportation, or use of pesticides."
When California's Department of Food and Agriculture announced plans in 2007 to begin aerial
pesticide spraying to control the
light brown apple moth,
controversy erupted. Citizens concerned about public health demanded that local communities once again be allowed to make decisions for themselves, democratically, about local pesticide spraying.
In April, 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed two resolutions questioning the State's aerial spraying of pesticides over the City to combat the light brown apple moth, but they were unable to act directly to regulate the spraying due to the State's preemption law.
To return local control to the citizens of California, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF) has introduced
Assembly Bill 977
-- which would repeal the California pesticide preemption law.
Pesticide Action Network
to send a message to legislators asking them to support local control of pesticide decisions in California.
More about Preemption . . .
After Mendocino and two other California counties banned the growing of genetically modified organisms in 2004, the biotechnology industry launched a nationwide campaign to
"preempt" local communities from regulating GMOs.