The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is working to reinstate emergency pest management protocols, filing an appeal of a recent Superior Court decision suspending a key portion of the agency’s Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program.
The appeal has been filed in the Third District Court of Appeal for California. The goal is to overturn the lower court order that invalidated segments of CDFA’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for Pest Prevention and Management. The court’s decision resulted in the prohibition of spraying pesticides on vegetation in parks, school properties and in the backyards of homeowners.
Several different industry groups voiced their disappointment in the initial court decision. California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelson noted what kind of negative effects could be felt if CDFA was no longer allowed to engage in emergency pest management protocols.
“If we don’t have this emergency program, you allow predator fish to expand eating native fish. You expand the bark beetle population in our forests. You allow Pierce’s disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter to flourish…the Asian Citrus Psyllid and Huanglongbing will expand until you’ve ruined the nation’s last citrus industry,” said Nelson. “You lose an industry. You lose jobs. You lose an economic foundation that supports local communities.”
The lawsuit that resulted in the injunction against certain CDFA programs was filed by a collection of organizations that includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Environmental Working Group. “This is just another avenue that the activists are trying to find a way to eliminate pesticides. They’re coming at every angle they can, and this is just one more,” said Roger Isom, President, and CEO of Western Agricultural Processors Association. Isom also highlighted an inconsistency in fighting early spray applications to control invasive pests. “If we don’t control it, it’s going to end up in more spraying because it’s going to become a huge infestation,” said Isom.
CDFA announced that it remains dedicated to continuing its mission to prevent the spread of harmful pests while also complying with the California Environmental Quality Act, ensuring the protection of agriculture, the environment, and other natural resources.