April 25, 2011
Arysta LifeScience, the manufacturer of the controversial fumigant methyl iodide, had planned on meeting the ag community today at the Courtyard Marriott in Salinas, but cancelled the discussion due to what an Arysta public relation representative says were scheduling conflicts. About eight people still appeared looking for the meeting today, instead meeting some 30 protestors facing Davis Road with signs calling for a ban on methyl iodide.
Some protestors this morning were relatives of farm workers, "who can't be here because it would put them at risk of losing their jobs," says Dana Perls, field organizer for the Pesticide Watch Education Fund.
Also protesting was Jenn Laskin, a Watsonville teacher who pushed the California Federation of Teachers to issue a resolution calling for a divestment of CalSTRS funds from a fund contributing to Arysta's research. Though "it could take years to divest," Laskin says, "I'm very proud of my union."
To date, no Monterey County growers have applied for a permit to use the fumigant, a replacement for methyl bromide, though the California Department of Pesticide Regulation approved the chemical in December.
Arysta plans to reschedule the meeting, for which no agenda was ever released, and had been expecting up to 45 guests.