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Impact report on apple moth eradication program out

Submitted by on 1, August 11, 2009 – 5:50 amOne Comment

The Light Brown Apple Moth

From the Better Late Than Never Department: I’m finally getting a chance to let you know that the state has released its draft environmental impact report on its plan to wipe out the light brown apple moth in order to protect California’s crops.

The moth eradication program generated a huge controversy last year after state officials opted to spray a pheromone-based pesticide over populated areas of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties without testing the spray first to ensure it wouldn’t harm people or other animals.

State agriculture officials had planned to spray the pheromone all over Alameda and elsewhere in the Bay Area, but held off after encountering a firestorm of controversy over the plans and the loss of two lawsuits intended to stop the spraying.

Per the report, the state does not appear to be considering further spraying in urban areas, reserving that option for unpopulated swaths of California where the moth is found. But officials are considering a program that could include ground application of similar compounds on public utility poles and residents’ trees and bushes. They are also thinking about applying a pheromone plus the pesticide permethrin on trees and utility poles in order to kill male moths.

The report lists no human health impacts for applying the pheromone treatment on trees, bushes and utility poles but notes the potential of “significant but mitigable” impacts for the pheromone plus pesticide treatment, including potential ill health effects for people who are sensitive to pollutants and a potential increased cancer risk.

The report proposes to minimize the potential problems by applying the pesticide eight feet above the ground, and also to keep it away from parks and schools.

Other options under consideration include the use of twist ties in areas where there are fewer moths, the release of sterile insects to halt the moths’ breeding and the use of predators to kill the moths. Nurseries and private individuals would also be able to use permitted insecticides.

Eradication activities are slated to continue this year and the program is set to run through 2015.

The report is here, along with directions on how to submit a comment on it. Comments are due by September 28. If you want to comment in person, they’ll have a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. September 1 in the auditorium of the Elihu M. Harris state building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland.

For more stories on LBAM, click here.

One Comment »

  • Farmer Bob says:


    Most of the severely toxic pesticides of this program are applied into people’s communities rather than to agriculture land. The reason that many of these program steps to handle a moth don’t seem to make sense is because they don’t make sense. The moth is not a threat to agriculture, forests or home gardens and because it is widespread throughout California living where people live, it cannot be eradicated by any means, just like ants, cockroaches and spiders cannot be eradicated.

    There are two main reasons for this program:
    1. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) wants money, a lot of it, and they want a bigger budget. Just weeks ago, Senator Majority Leader Florez held hearings to consider eliminating the CDFA or reducing its budget funded by taxpayer funds. Immediately after the hearings, CDFA reported a whole slew of invasive bugs that they “Just found” and they also falsified reports of LBAM damage, similar to the false reports that they previously delivered to the public. Two superior courts found them to be false and scolded CDFA for lying. CDFA faked the damage before and they were caught. So now, CDFA uses actual damage and fakes that LBAM is responsible for it.

    2. Large corporate insider privileged chemical companies that manufacture the toxic pesticides are going to get the bulk of the contracts and $$$ to sell the pesticides to the CDFA. Average eradication programs for CDFA last for about 27 years. CDFA talks about the hundreds of millions of dollars for this program, but when it is realistically evaluated over the length of the program, it will take over 2.5 Billion Dollars of your taxpayer funds. CDFA and their insider pesticide manufacturers act oblivious to the economic conditions of California families.

    A. The aerial spray is not over. You will be aerially sprayed. CDFA’s own measurement of drift of the spray was well over three miles when they did it in 2007. Most places in California are within three miles of unpopulated areas where they intend to continue aerial spray, so you may not be sprayed from directly above, but you will be sprayed from the side/above.

    B. The permethrin poison called splat CDFA plans to put on three thousand trees, poles and bushes in COMMUNITIES WHERE PEOPLE LIVE is extremely toxic to people, deadly to cats and bees and some children. It is also a likely carcinogen (causes cancer), but that probably won’t show right away. You and your children and your Aunt and Grandmother will be right next to and living amongst these sources of poison and they will dissipate into your lungs and into and onto every part of your families’ bodies. CDFA will renew them every few weeks to maintain the level of toxicity.

    The furthest you will be able to get your children away from these things will be about 60 feet. 24 hours per day at home, at work, at restaurants, for years to come every member of your family will have at least FOUR of these poison sources within about 60 feet and that is the best that you can do. The air in your home comes from outside so closing your doors will not stop the poison from being in your home.

    The CDFA has offered to put them up at about 8 feet high as though the poison won’t drift down to people. CDFA will pretend that if your child can’t climb the pole to touch it, or eat it, that it will be perfectly safe. If the poison stayed within the splat that CDFA proposes to put on these poles and trees, then they would not need to renew it every few weeks as is their plan.

    C. The sterile moth release to assist eradicating LBAM is also a complete fraud, just another “Make-it-look-like-CDFA-is-doing-something” to get them more money. A moth’s biology and characteristics have to be very precise for Sterile moth release to effectively reduce its mating, but LBAM does not have the necessary attributes for Sterile moth release to affect it. The Sterile Moth Release program for LBAM is the equivalent of buying shoes for every person in California to step on ants to eradicate them.

    D. And remember that you have seen NO damage from LBAM. CDFA with USDA’s assistance has totally fabricated the danger. All insects try to live. LBAM does NOT threaten our food, our forests, our gardens, nor does it or has it ever done the things that CDFA claims it will do. Countries around the world with LBAM are laughing at the money that California is spending on LBAM.

    If a dog comes in the kitchen and eats your chocolate cake that you left out on the counter, cover it or close the door next time, don’t eradicate all dogs. That is equivalent to how simple and how routine LBAM can be controlled. Most people don’t know much about insects. There are thousands of insects more of a pest than LBAM. CDFA used LBAM because few people in North America knew about LBAM and USDA had already set up the foundation to formally misrepresent it as a serious pest. CDFA would have taken money to eradicate ladybugs if most people didn’t already know about them.

    If you still believe the previous press releases by CDFA distributed thousands of time throughout the state by the media that the previous aerial spray in 2007 was just a pheromone, then you are misinformed.

    Pay attention, this is not a game; your children’s lives depend on it.

    True Biology and proper control of LBAM:
    http://www.lbamspray.com/Reports.htm Report #21

    True story of the CDFA LBAM Eradication Program:

    This CBS TV 5 minute video investigative report shows just a fraction of CDFA lies.

    Best to all of you.

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