The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) continues to consider actions pertaining to 1, 3-D soil fumigants. DPR has been coordinating with several counties in an effort to develop potential mitigation measures. Increased scrutiny regarding emission levels has led DPR to look closer at the use of soil fumigants. Along with monitoring air quality, there is also interest in requiring notification when using 1, 3-D soil fumigants.
“DPR felt that that was an arena that the people have a right to know what’s occurring in that area with regard to soil fumigants. We don’t necessarily disagree with that,” said Ruben Arroyo, Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner. “We did disagree with how this was going to be implemented, whether it was going to be through a permit condition and not through actual regulation. The method of at least mitigation – in recent history – has been to use permit conditions. If we don’t have actual data to prove that there’s a problem occurring in any individual county, the permit condition is actually the wrong method to use.”
The issue of soil fumigant emissions is being reviewed closely in the city of Shafter in Kern County. Shafter was selected for a Community Emissions Reduction Program plan under Assembly Bill 617 by the California Air Resources Control Board. Under AB 617, the town of Shafter will now be closely monitoring air quality and community emissions which includes those from soil fumigants. As part of the process, DPR is considering a notification requirement for using soil fumigants along with additional monitoring. Arroyo explained that it is important to get more information on the issue before making any sweeping declarations.
“The Department is actually working with our industry on a volunteer program with our applicators and our growers to collect that data. I think it’s a great program that’s been established in those pilot counties in the San Joaquin Valley,” Arroyo noted. “We’re hopeful that we’ll get some true data and if there is a need for mitigation it will be based on those applications and science.”