October 11, 2011
A culmination after months of activism, community organizers pushing the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to roll back its 2010 registration of methyl iodide will take their argument to the County Board of Supervisors today, asking the supervisors to issue a resolution opposing the use of the fumigant in Monterey County. Their presentation during public comment comes about a month after the League of Women Voters sent a letter to Supervisor Jane Parker asking the board to consider such a resolution.
"I don’t believe we can regulate methyl iodide," says Les Girard, deputy county counsel. "The board can adopt a resolution opposing its use, that’s perfectly appropriate."
The agricultural commissioner's office, which reviews requests to apply pesticides to ensure label restrictions on each product are followed, would still be required to abide by DPR's standards, and to allow applications that meet the state's requirements, even with a county resolution.
"A resolution is purely a statement of sentiment to bring pressure at the state level," says Beverly Bean, president of the Monterey Peninsula chapter of the League.
Traci Townsend, project manager for the Health Action Team at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Dana Perls, a community organizer with Pesticide Watch, will speak before the board. In meetings they've held with county supervisors, they say there's been interest in a resolution so long as it makes clear that the county supports research and options for agriculture.
The issue's had traction among activist groups, but locally hasn't been a big mobilizer. “It's not generated the kind of letter writing campaign we saw on Corral de Tierra [shopping village] or Whispering Oaks,” says Kristi Markey, Parker's chief of staff.