Below is a press release from the California Department of Pesticide
Regulation concerning proposed new regulations for the use of methyl
bromide. The original press release is rather long, so I have
omitted the very specific details on the proposal so as not to make
this posting too long. Copies of the proposed regulations and
related documents will be available on DPR's Web site
<www.cdpr.ca.gov> tomorrow (January 19).Contact information is a the
end of the text. Media Contact Veda Federighi or Glenn Brank at
(916) 445-3974 or -3970.
California Department of Pesticide Regulation
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation today released
proposed regulations that will impose mandatory, statewide rules on
the use of methyl bromide. The regulations include several new
restrictions that will expand the nation's most comprehensive program
for regulating the widely-used fumigant.
The proposed regulations will enhance protection for children in
schools, establish minimum buffer zones around application sites,
and set new limits on work hours for fumigation employees. The
regulations would also require that neighbors be notified of a
farmer's request to use methyl bromide, and establish the right for
those neighbors to be later notified of the fumigation schedule.
DPR will hold three public hearings on the regulations in Salinas,
Ontario, and Fresno County in early March.
"This is the culmination of a years-long process of data gathering
and analysis," said DPR Director Paul E. Helliker. "Methyl bromide,
because of concerns about its toxicity, has been subject to
increasingly tight restrictions by DPR since 1992, in the form of
discretionary controls set at the county level. However, with new
data on risks and exposure, we now have the solid scientific basis
the law requires for statewide environmental regulations."
The Department is moving forward on the regulations on an expedited
schedule due to a court-imposed deadline. A San Francisco Superior
Court judge last year ordered the Department to adopt by June 2000
more specific regulations on the field fumigation use of methyl
bromide. (Methyl bromide is a fumigant injected into soil to destroy
pathogens, weeds, and other pests. It is also used to fumigate
commodities after harvest and to destroy wood-infesting pests in
homes and other structures.)
"Other than setting a deadline, the judge quite properly let DPR
decide what to put into regulation, and how to conduct the rulemaking
process," said Helliker. "We could have merely transferred a few
elements of our existing program into regulation. But we are placing
major elements of the program in regulation, and are proposing many
new protections as well.
"We also opened the process to our stakeholders to an unprecedented
degree," Helliker added. "In the past several months, we have had
many meetings and conference calls with county agricultural
commissioners, environmental and farm worker groups, representatives
of production agriculture, and methyl bromide manufacturers. We
circulated several drafts of the regulations to these groups and
often revised the text to incorporate as much as possible their
"The three formal hearings also will ensure that the public has ample
opportunity to comment," Helliker said.
He added, "It is important to note that we never intended to adopt
prescriptive regulations to cover every possible methyl bromide use
situation in all 58 counties in the state. Our intent is to adopt
minimum statewide requirements that the county commissioners can and
should supplement with their own rules to address local conditions."
If everything was in regulation, Helliker noted, applicators would
bear primary responsibility for compliance, removing much of the
existing commissioner oversight and pre-fumigation review.
"The regulations, as proposed, ensure accountability and specify the
minimum requirements for any permit to use methyl bromide in
California," said Helliker.
Beyond making many discretionary rules now set at the county level
into statewide, mandatory regulations, DPR added several significant
elements to what was already the strictest program in the country to
control methyl bromide use, Helliker said.
Details of the proposed regulatory package include the following:
<deleted so this post wouldn't be too long.>
Copies of the proposed regulations and related documents will be
available on DPR's Web site <www.cdpr.ca.gov> tomorrow (January 19),
or after January 24 by calling or writing Fred Bundock, Department of
Pesticide Regulation, 830 K Street, Sacramento CA 95814-3510, (916)
324-4194. Written comments may be submitted by e-mail
<firstname.lastname@example.org> or by postal mail no later than 5:00 p.m. PST
, March 14, 2000.
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