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LBAM bills coming due?

Submitted by on 1, August 14, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Plans to eradicate the light brown apple moth by spraying a synthetic pheromone over much of the Bay Area didn’t just generate heaps o’controversy. They also generated a pile of bills in the state Legislature aimed at making sure that this sort of thing – and by this sort of thing, we mean the state ag folks deciding to spray a barely-tested something or other over a hugely populated area without any public input – doesn’t happen again.

Well, we’re guessing the state ag folks’ decision a few months ago to cancel their spray plans may have helped lead to the demise of many of these bills. But a few are continuing through the legislative process.

One bill, by North Bay Assemblyman Jared Huffman, would require the state Department of Food and Agriculture to host at least one public hearing to consider alternatives before deciding whether to spray folks from above. The ingredients of said spray would have to be released in the public notice. The bill, which passed the Assembly in May and has since passed through three Senate committees, would also require state officials to evaluate human health and environmental risks. As of this writing, it was on the Senate floor.

A Huffman staffer said the point of his bill is to reform the process for the next time the state’s ag folks declare an emergency like this one.

A second bill, by South Bay Assemblyman John Laird, would require the state to maintain a list of invasive pests and, if there’s money available, keep eradication plans on hand in the event these pests pay a visit to California. It, too, passed the Assembly and three Senate committees.

Says Laird spokesman Bill Maxfield:

“Clearly, the state was not adequately prepared for LBAM. The Invasive Pest Planning Act will help the state prevent the kind of public fear, confusion and anger that we experienced with LBAM – while also helping the state to manage threats presented by invasive insects, plants and animals.”

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