On Wed, 12 Apr 1995, Robert Kluson (BIO) wrote:
> Sorry for any duplication to SANETers of this post. I'm not sure if my
> response forwarded to the designated source (ie. Larry
> London<firstname.lastname@example.org) gets to ya'll...
> In regard to Tracy Aquilla's post of April 11th, I want to
> note the following aspects of the "dialogue":
> 1) Several of the responses to the call for alarm originally sent by Tracy
> have quickly surfaced as personal attacks on Tracy's credentials and
> credibility. To her great credit, she has articulated well her qualified
> background. Yes, you do not need to be a field expert of boll wevils to
> understand its ecology! Most importantly, she is reminding us to not be
> intimidated from raising these important issues, as either concerned
> citizens or practitioners/researchers trained in other related fields.
> 2) One major dissappointment in the critical responses is the bias
> towards a "nozzlehead" worldview even in this select audience of
> sustainable aggies.
>>>>>>>DH: I am new to this group, and was rather dismayed at
finding that a subscriber had to defend IPM!! AND herself from personal
attack!! I have experienced the exact same tactic from people who are
extremely conservative in other newsgroups. I thought I would find
people here who were well versed in the efficacy and rationale of IPM, or
who wanted to become so.
Because transnational and local corporate interests drive
the media as well as Congress, it is extremely important for
"alternative" thinkers to guard themselves against co-optation of
alternative terms, such as "sustainable agriculture." Ask a traditional
Native American what sustainable environmental principles are and they
will say the exact opposite of what a "wise use" backed agribusiness might
come up with, such as the fact that spraying poison on whatever pest is the
present problem will sustain the farmer's profits from agriculture.
> Tracy has hit the nail squarely on the head when she
> describes the efficacy and promise of IPM in dealing with boll wevils or
> any other pest. We are never going to change our course "towards"
> sustainability if we keep reaching for the poisons as first response
> instead of our last tactic as IPM theory proposes. In other words, "WE
> HAVE ALREADY BEEN THERE. WE HAVE ALREADY DONE IT". When do we
> get serious about the full blown application of IPM methods/research and other
> relavent fields, such as landscape ecology and agroecology? Why can not we
> turn such a situation into an opportunity for real progress "towards"
> 3) Finally, it is interesting to hear Tracy's call for the use of
> property rights against the widespread application of malathion. Just
> several weeks ago, a message was posted about Ciba-Geigy's use of
> grassroots tactics for corporate lobbying purposes. Here we have the
> inverse situation where environmentalists are being asked to employ
> corporate tactics.
>>>>>>>>>DH: The use of "property rights" is not a
grassroots nor a corporate tactic, it is part of the Constitution. The
Fifth Amendment has a "Taking" clause that states:
"nor shall private property be taken for public use,
without just compensation."
The common legal interpretation given this clause is that the government may
take private property under the power of eminent domain, but that it must pay
a fair price when taking private property. If a state or federal govt.
"regulates" private property under its police power, then it doesn't have
to pay one red cent, even if the owner's use of the property or its
value is substantially diminished. If a regulation substantially
advances legitimate state (or fed) interests and it does not deny the
owner "economically viable use of he land" then it definitely is a
regulation and not a taking. Most common case law finds that
environmental laws are not takings (guess who drives the "justice"
system as well as the media and Congress). Only in extreme situations
where an owner is precluded from making any sensible use of the land is
there the possiblity of a judge finding that a regulation is really a taking.
The standard corporate definition of state interest is the need
to eradicate a pest like the boll weevil that can decimate the profits of
a major industry and cause chaos in the local and national economy...(I
don't think they've resorted to asserting that national security will be
compromised...yet :-). Therefore any organic cotton farmer whose crop is
sprayed with poisons, is not ecomonically damaged, so the corporate
mentality goes) nor is the land made unusable because the spraying is
actually saving the crop and making the land MORE useable and profitable!
You see, those silly organos!
If the takings clause were to be used to assert that spraying
poison on organic cotton crops is a taking because the farmer is stripped
of the organic certification that drives his profit, it would be a novel
case (meaning the lawyers would have to paddle upstream to change the
accepted interpretation of economic viability of land use to include a
special definition for organic profits, and that means a hell of alot of
work and creative thinking!!!). In California, malathion has been sprayed
for years in medfly eradication programs because having medflys has been
ruled to be a "state of emergency". Trying to preserve a farmers organic
certification in the face of EMERGENCY!! is like trying to talk to brick
walls. The governmental use of state of emergency rulings is extremely
dangerous, as it suspends Constitutional rights of citizens, and is the
key executive order that kicks in the fascist state apparatus.
This is not to say that bringing a suit based on taking from
organic farmers is not worth a try. It would be very challenging, and I
think probably has already been done and denied, so the more cases, the
better, each done with a different strategy of evidence. Actually what
will be necessary is a long term educational effort in the form of many
cases. Also, if pro-sustainable environmental lawyers approached
judicial councils, even on a local level all across the nation to
explain to them what ORGANIC means and why it is important, it could
provide the beginnings of more fair rulings, hopefully. The judges
usually have the same misconceptions and prejudices about health foods
and organic food as has the common uninformed Safeway shopper. Very
seldom are there oppositional changes in legal thought (those judges
are damned slow, and know where who butters their bread) that happen in
just one case. It takes many cases, each one perhaps making one
small incremental change in definition or circumstance before a precedent
is reversed or at least expanded.
> This might be a case of poetic justice or opening up
> the proverbial can of worms. I understand its short-term utility but
> wonder about it potential for compromising any future arguments for
> sustainable development based on ecosystem management or rights.
> Now for the responses...
> Rob Kluson
> Bio. Dept.
> USF, Tampa
>>>>>>>>>DH: I am certainly in favor of poetic justice,
as there is seldom any kind of justice in the justice system, so I'll
take justice in any form, even poetic...or perhaps lawyers should make an
effort to introduce poetics into the justice system! :-).
I don't think there will be any short term utility, I think it
will be a long haul, as I explained above.
I don't think there will be any compromising of future arguments
for sustainable developments of land. Actually, I think the faster
environmental lawyers start changing the legal paradigm, the better,
although this closely resembles banging one's head on a brick wall.
The only compromise that I fear is that the definition of economic
viability of land use from the organic farmers point of view would be
scuttled in a judge's ruling to undermine the very concept of
Maybe we should think in terms of national uproar in Safeways and
A&Ps across the country where shoppers are filling the vegetable
isles in demand of organic produce and also distributing information on a
future taking case that is before a judge! A ruling in favor of organic
vegetable farmer's right to not be sprayed (no pay can compensate for
lost time in re establishing organic certification) would help organic
cotton farmers as well.
(no relation to hotels or lawyers)