Western Growers and California Citrus Mutual Issue Statement on CA DPR Ban on Chlorpyrifos
EXETER, CA; IRVINE, CA - Yesterday, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced that they are going to begin the cancellation process of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The statement cites scientific findings that chlorpyrifos poses serious public health and environmental risks to vulnerable communities. In response to this announcement, both Western Growers Association and California Citrus Mutual issued statements.
“California farmers are universally committed to the safety of their food, the health of their workers and communities, and the sustainability of their land," stated Tom Nassif, Western Growers’ President and CEO. "At every turn, they strive to achieve efficiencies in their use of resources like water, fertilizer, and pesticides, and seek to minimize both the human and environmental impacts of these inputs. California farmers also face the most stringent regulatory environment in the world, one that often limits their access to many of the tools still available to farmers elsewhere in the U.S. and in foreign countries, including certain types of pesticides. Indeed, over the last 20 years, California regulatory actions have removed several of the most important crop protection tools farmers rely on to fight pests and diseases."
He went on to explain further what this cancellation could mean for California citrus growers.
"With yesterday’s announcement that DPR will initiate the cancellation of chlorpyrifos, one of the most widely studied and globally approved insecticides, California farmers now stand to lose yet another arrow in their quiver—without effective and ready replacement tools—making their quest to grow the safest, healthiest, and most abundant food supply in the world even more difficult," Nassif said. "California farmers are resilient, but the long-term viability of our farms in California depends on proper support from the Administration and renewed cooperation of the state’s regulatory agencies, especially in light of the many other unique and expensive regulations that place California farmers at a growing competitive disadvantage.”
California Citrus Mutual’s President, Casey Creamer, echoed Nassif’s concerns.
"The decision to ban chlorpyrifos is not surprising given the significant pressure from anti-pesticide groups, active legislative proposals, regulatory proceedings, and ongoing court battles," Creamer said. “However, this decision relies heavily on an evaluation that was significantly flawed and based upon unrealistic modeling scenarios that are not verifiable by actual results in DPR's own air monitoring network. California Citrus Mutual and our member growers stand by science that is sound, that properly evaluates risks, and puts forward appropriate safeguards to protect ourselves, our employees, and our surrounding communities. We are committed to safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos and other crop protection tools. The process for which this chemical was evaluated was purposely exaggerated to achieve a desired outcome and jeopardizes the scientific credibility of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. This decision sets a terrible precedent for future evaluations and creates a chilling effect on companies planning on making significant investments to bring new products to the market in California."
He continued, saying that, “The citrus industry is fighting feverishly to protect itself from the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing. In order to do so, we must have the necessary tools in the toolbox for an effective Integrated Pest Management program. The once mighty citrus producing state of Florida has lost 70% of its production due to this disease, which is expanding exponentially in residential citrus trees in Southern California at this very moment. While our commercial growers will remain vigilant, it is vital that our policy makers recognize the seriousness of the threat and ensure sound scientific procedures are followed. California Citrus Mutual will continue to be actively engaged in the regulatory processes around the cancellation decision and will continue to explore all potential remedies to allow the safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos."
For the latest on how this ban will affect the industry, keep reading us here at AndNowUKnow.