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For Immediate Release: May 18th, 2007

Long Overdue State Regulations on Smog-Forming Pesticides Released Today

Compliance with Federal Standards must Target Pesticide Use Reduction


NEWS RELEASEContact: Tracey Brieger, Californians for Pesticide Reform 415-981-3939 x 6 or 415-215-5473 tracey@igc.org

CALIFORNIA—After over a decade of waiting for California regulators to clean up the air from pesticide air pollution, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released today draft regulations on smog-forming pesticide emissions. To protect public health from the dangers of ozone pollution or “smog,” communities across the state are calling for strong regulations that reduce the use of—not just emissions from—these volatile organic compound (VOC)-emitting pesticides.

In 1994, California regulators promised to adopt regulations that would reduce smog-forming emissions from pesticides by 20% from 1990 levels by the year 2005. As a result of a lawsuit brought by a coalition of community-based environmental justice groups, a Federal judge ruled last February that California violated that promise in 1997 when the state cheated: smoking-gun documents showed DPR intentionally manipulated pesticide use numbers in an effort to justify a decision  to avoid adopting the promised regulations

In the order issued last April, the state defendants must adopt, implement, and submit regulation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval by January 1, 2008. The regulations must ensure that the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Ventura, Southeast Desert and South Coast air basins reduce smog-forming emissions by 20% from 1991 levels. The draft regulations are expected to be released today.

 “Pesticide polluters have been getting a free ride from smog-reducing regulations for over a decade,” said Mary Haffner with Community and Children's Advocates Against Pesticide Poisoning in Ventura County. “The time is long overdue for state regulators to do their jobs and take a strong stand to stop pesticide air pollution.”

Environmental justice and community groups across the state are calling on DPR to implement strong regulations that reduce the use of VOC pesticides instead of basing regulations on unproven, unenforceable and scientifically unsound technical fixes aimed at reducing emissions from these pesticides.

The groups also call on the Schwarzenegger Administration to abandon it’s appeal of the judge's decision, filed last may in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  "In his election campaign, Governor Schwarzenegger promised to reduce air pollution in California by 50% by 2010," added Haffner.  "That is just another empty promise from him because his Administration is appealing the orders that are finally imposing reasonable air pollution controls on pesticide use."

Ozone pollution damages lung tissue, exacerbates asthma, reduces lung capacity, increases respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, and increases school and work absenteeism.

Available for interviews:

•    Brent Newell, Staff Attorney, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, (661) 586-3724, bjnewell@igc.org
•    Anne Katten, Work Health and Safety Specialist, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, 916-446-7904 x 19, akatten@cal.net
•    Mary Haffner, Board Member, Community & Children’s Advocates Against Pesticide Poisoning, (805) 701-1181, haffnermary@yahoo.com