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Oregonians for Food and Shelter Legislative Update

March 27, 2009

WEEK 11 brings more interesting new from Oregon's legislature. OFS Staff is busier than ever.

Enjoy your weekend!

Terry Witt & Paulette Pyle OFS Bills of Interest for 2009 For a chronology of bills for OFS members to review Click Here You may be particularly interested in the hearings status and dates listed.

Senator Doug Whitsett from Klamath Falls is very involved with water. He holds a meeting each week with the lobby and other interested parties. His newsletter which came out today has information on several water bills, we've included a link to his newsletter here.

OFS LEGISLATIVE REPORT Week 11 - Pesticide bills plus many other important issues to agriculture and forestry are being scheduled in relevant committees. It is important that you also read the Oregon Farm Bureau Legislative Updates as they deal with taxes, water and other pertinent issues that you might not see on this report. The natural resource lobby is working very well together and getting much accomplished. Thanks to Oregon Forest Industries Council (OFIC) for hosting a weekly luncheon for all of the natural resource lobby. We invite any our of forestry or agriculture members who want to join us. Greg Miller of Weyerhaeuser does a great job of chairing the luncheon meetings. Also, on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m., there is an Ag lobby breakfast meeting. Katie Fast, Governmental Affairs Director for Farm Bureau and Paulette Pyle, Director of Grass Roots for Oregonians for Food and Shelter co-chair the meetings. We are especially appreciative that OFIC Chairman Blake Rowe of Longview Timber; OFS Chairman David Hampton of Hampton Affiliates; and Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue have each attended these legislative weekly meetings either in person or by phone. Their attendance and input is valuable.

MEETINGS WITH LEADERSHIP: Last week we reported the natural resource lobby meeting with the Speaker of the House Dave Hunt. This week, we had a meeting with House Republican leader Bruce Hanna and with Representative Cliff Bentz. This is a critical time in the legislative session as bills of interest to natural resources begin to be heard in both House and Senate committees. Issue papers were left behind and reception was excellent. In addition to leadership, Katie Fast, Ray Wilkeson, and Paulette Pyle have been meeting with legislators that are serving on committees that will be hearing natural resource bills. As time allows, other natural resource folks join us. Meetings have been going exceptionally well. Thanks to Sandi Schukar OFS Office Manager for scheduling the meetings and keeping us on time.

Terry Witt, Executive Director of OFS has been engrossed in reading bills, preparing and providing testimony. Issues are pesticides, fertilizer updates and invasive species. With the lobbying effort described above plus Terry's effort we are working hard for a very successful outcome. Terry, Paulette and Sandi welcome any comments you have after reading the OFS weekly update.

ADDITIONAL ODA BUDGET CUTS: Many thanks to Chairman of the Board of Agriculture and cherry grower Ken Bailey from The Dalles, and Board of Agriculture member Tom Fessler from Woodburn Nursery for joining Lisa Hansen, Governmental Affairs & Assistant Director of Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and Lauren Henderson, Assistant Director of ODA to review the departments additional 10% budget cuts. Before the legislature convened state agencies were directed by the Governor to cut 20% from their budgets. Recently the agencies were asked to cut an additional 10%. The cuts are many and VERY deep. The bottom line is no program is sacred and will NOT survive without reductions. Some will be totally eliminated.

Pesticide Bill heard in committee week of 3-27-09: There are three bills that are relating to PURS. There are two Senate bills and one in the House.

HB 2999 - Amends Pesticide Reporting System (PURS). Extends sunset to January 2, 2016; changes non-urban reporting location from water basin (3rd field HUC) to watershed (4th field HUC). Hearing held on 3-25-09 in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee. OFS supports HB 2999.

Representative Clem had taken the lead during the interim to find a workable solution between Oregon's pesticide users and the lead environmental groups on this issue. For consistency, OFS and the natural resource coalition also support sending any PURS-related bills from the Senate to Chair Clem's House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee. Thanks to Rep. Clem for introducing and those who testified in support of HB 2999. Those testifying in support were Terry Witt of OFS; Barry Bushue of Oregon Farm Bureau; Ray Wilkeson of OFIC; Jeff Stone of OAN; and Ralph Saperstein of OSWA. HB 2999 drew the attention of many state agencies. HB 2999 will receive a Work Session on 4/2 in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee.

Until the legislature is over, who knows which programs will really survive, be cut or be significantly amended? With all of the other cuts in the pesticide programs, it would be difficult to justify continuing PURS.

PURS related bills are: SB 184: Extends sunset to 1/2/2016. Currently in Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. This is a placeholder bill by the Department of Agriculture to ensure the sunset was extended. This language was also put in HB 2999 discussed above. SB 800: Makes PURS permanent; changes non-urban reporting location from water basin to watershed; and requires sales and distribution reporting. Introduced by Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland). Currently assigned to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. OFS opposes making PURS permanent and requiring sales reporting. It would be very costly to set up a sales reporting mechanism and this detailed sales data is considered confidential marketing information by product manufacturers and distributors.

HB 2424 expands the current program to allow a volunteer group to choose one or both of the following activities as part of Oregon's Adopt-a-Highway Program: (1) removal of litter and/or(2) removal of noxious weeds. Many thanks to Brenda Pace for sheparding this concept through the process. OFS testified in support of passage of HB 2424 on 3/24. Rules for the noxious weed portion of the program will be adopted by ODA and will include requirements like weed identification, safe removal methods or control techniques such as clipping of seed heads. Herbicides will not be used by volunteers. In addition to the actual removal of specific problem weeds from our highway rights-of-ways, the bill will also increase public awareness of the problem and help educate citizens about what they can do to be a part of the solution on their own property. Great job Terry!

HB 2534 Requires state agencies to do detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on all major state agencies. This bill, if passed, would mimic the federal NEPA law by creating a State Environmental Policy Act. The bill would allow anyone (even non-Oregonians) who believes they would be impacted by a proposed action to file for a contested case hearing. OFS testified before the House Environment and Water Committee in opposition to HB 2534.

SB 962 introduced in Senate Judiciary which authorizes private right of action to any person adversely affected by violation of environmental laws...in other words, third party lawsuits in Oregon. No hearing scheduled yet.

Legislation of interest to OFS members scheduled for week of March 30th

SB 637: Pesticides IPM in schools; SB 637 has been tentatively scheduled for April 1, 2009. However, due to proposed amendments it may be pushed back. The bill was introduced by Senator Suzanne Bonamici (D-Beaverton) following a year-long work group discussion with stakeholders that Senator Bonamici, Representative Brian Clem and Allison MacMullin from Rep. Ron Mauer's office regularly attended. All of the amendments to the original bill submitted by OFS to Senator Bonamici are incorporated into the dash-4 amendments to SB 637. The bill includes all schools (public and private) and will be a requirement starting July 1, 2012.

SB 902: Requires person exercising control over property located within one-quarter mile of school registered on State Department of Agriculture website to provide school with 48-hours written notice prior to aerial application of pesticides. This bill modifies requirements if spraying for pest emergency. Applies to aerial applications of pesticide made on or after July 1, 2010. Makes violation of statute or Department rules subject to civil penalty, not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for subsequent violation or $10,000 for willful misconduct or subject to criminal penalty of not more than one year's imprisonment and fine not to exceed $1,000 for first violation or $2,000 for subsequent violation. Requires department to create website for registration of schools wishing to receive pesticide spraying notice.

Aerial application is defined as an application from airplane or helicopter or by means of a machine-powered device from any discharge height that is more than 10 feet above the top of the highest target vegetation on a property. (Note: Terry's not sure, but he thinks this could include Mike Newton when he holds a spray wand over his head!)

INVASIVE SPECIES: Several bills have been introduced to deal with aquatic species such as the quagga and zebra mussels. HB 2583: Prohibits launching boats with Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force. HB 2714: Creates Shipping Transport of Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force.

CLEARCUT AND PESTICIDE BAN ON FOREST LAND: Noted in the Oregon Forest Industries Council Newsletter is a petition currently being circulated for comment, but not yet filed with the Secretary of State. Even though it is similar to proposals brought forward every two years since 1994, only one (Ballot Measure 64 in 1998) gathered sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot. Oregon voters then rejected Measure 64 by an 81% - 19% margin. OFS P3 List Comments to DEQ In addition to this session's bills, Terry has had to put in a significant amount of time and effort to deal with the aftermath of a bill from the 2007 session, Senate Bill 737. One of the requirements of that bill was that DEQ had to develop a list of persistent or bioaccumulative toxins and report back to the 2009 session by June 1. The draft list of 175 chemicals contained 70 pesticide-related chemicals. 37 of them are currently registered active ingredients impacting 757 pesticide products labeled for use in Oregon. See all the details in Terry's 5-page comment letter to DEQ by clicking here. The comments are supported by seventeen Oregon groups.

Thank you to all of the organizations who signed on to the comments. Vilsack Writes EPA's Jackson on Court's Pesticide Ruling March 20, 2009 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier in the month expressing his deep concern about the effects a recent Sixth Circuit Court ruling could have on American agriculture's ability to respond to crop threats.

The Sixth Circuit Court effectively determined that a pesticide or herbicide application is a point source of pollution requiring the producer to obtain additional permits even if the chemical is being applied in compliance with label requirements. Vilsack wrote:

"The court's adverse decision will have profound implications for American farmers...The permit requirement could reach almost any pesticide application, requiring farmers to navigate a permitting system that is ill-suited to the demands of agricultural production. Failure to obtain a timely permit for pesticide application could cripple American farmers' emergency pest management efforts and hamper their ability to respond quickly to new pest infestations or threats of infestations, thus increasing the risk of crop losses...

"The Sixth Circuit's decision encumbers the American farmers' and [USDA's] ability to do business, while reaping little or no environmental benefit in exchange..."

Vilsack urged Jackson to take these needs into account as EPA considers seeking further review of the underlying case, National Cotton Council v. EPA. NAWG and others in the agricultural community are requesting a rehearing of the case by the full Circuit Court of Appeals; those requests are due April 9.

To read Vilsack's full letter, Click Here. Injured farmer 'getting better each day' Steve Brown Capital Press

Steven Keudell, a Turner, Oregon farmer, has undergone 25 hours of surgery in the past week after suffering serious burns and major head trauma in a tree-trimming accident on March 12.

"He's getting better each day," his brother Alan said Tuesday, March 24. "The doctors plan to have him out of sedation by mid-week. There's still a lot more to go, so there's no way to speculate on what happens next."

Turner Fire Chief Kevin Henson said Steven Keudell was on a tractor working to remove tree limbs when a branch fell onto a power line, bringing the live wires down on top of him. He was flown by medical helicopter to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where his treatment for burns and other injuries continues in the burn center intensive care unit.

Keudell raises bush beans, sweet corn, grass seed and peppermint oil on the family's third-generation farm in the Aumsville-Turner area.

His family has set up a blog for friends and family to track his condition. To view it or to send a message to Steven and his family Click Here.

"We're updating it every day," Alan Keudell said. "It's wonderful to have so much support from the community." ODA offers advice on home use pesticides Now that Daylight Saving Time has arrived and the temperature will hopefully start to warm up a bit, homeowners are beginning an annual rite of spring, launching a major effort to get their yards in proper shape. Following winter and several months of yard neglect, many Oregonians are anxious to emerge from hibernation armed with the tools to reestablish healthy lawns and gardens. Among the tools- pesticides.

Home-use pesticides are important and often necessary in battling unwanted plant pests and diseases. Provided they are handled properly, pesticide products are valuable tools for the homeowner.

"Pesticides are not only valuable tools, they are powerful tools," says Michael Babbitt, investigator with the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Pesticides Division. "Anything that powerful makes it incumbent upon the user to exercise some responsibility whether they are licensed or not- whether anybody is looking or not. We want to make sure that if they have a pest problem and they are going to treat it themselves with a pesticide product, that they use those pesticides wisely and safely."

ODA licenses commercial pesticide applicators, requiring them to take a test to show their knowledge of how to use pesticides safely. Many of the materials available to commercial applicators are available to homeowners, who are not licensed and tested. That's a concern and makes it all the more important for the agency to try and educate homeowners on proper use of pesticides.

"Neighborhood areas are full of people, children, and pets," says Babbitt. "There are a lot of potentially sensitive sites. People need to keep these factors in mind and make a good determination that the pesticide really is necessary- that they purchase the right one and use it properly."

Whether it is applying weed killer, slug bait, or bug spray, it's always best to start by taking some time to think about what has to be done before you actually do it. Too many people rush out to prepare their yard and garden without a plan.

"Number one, identify the pest that is the problem," says Babbitt. County extension offices, ODA's Plant Division, the Internet, or even your local library all have resources to help you figure out what pest is literally bugging you. That's important because each pesticide product lists the specific insects it is designed to control. The product label clearly states what the pesticide is to be used for.

Much of the homework can and should be done before purchasing the product. The most important source of information is the product label itself. "We strongly advocate three steps," says Babbitt. "Read the label, read the label and read the label." The label tells you not only what pests the product takes care of, but it gives you special precautions. It spells out what steps you need to take to protect yourself and others during application. Babbitt says it's very important to read the label even before you buy the product so you understand if it is the correct pesticide for you and how best to use it. After the purchase comes the application. Once again, reading the label will guide you through the proper method of handling the pesticide. It tells you how to mix the product. Some products may be already mixed but most need to be diluted before application. The label also tells you when to apply the product. Some pesticides require dry conditions, others do fine even if it rains afterwards. The label emphasizes the importance of keeping children and pets away from the material during mixing and application.

Once the pesticide has been applied, it's time for storage or disposal of the unused product. Where can you find information on storage and disposal? You guessed it, the product label. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is another source, especially when it comes to pesticide disposal.

"As far as the storage of pesticides, store them in the original container in a safe, dry location that is out of reach of children," says Babbitt. Of course the best way to solve a pesticide disposal problem is to not create one in the first place. It all goes back to the point of purchase. "A majority of the time, people buy more pesticide product than they can probably use in their entire lifetime," says Babbitt. "Be prudent when you buy the pesticide product. Only buy the amount you intend to apply. That way you don't have storage or disposal becoming an issue."

ODA's Pesticides Division seeks to protect people and the environment from adverse effects of pesticides while maintaining the availability of pesticides for beneficial uses. In addition to licensing commercial pesticide applicators, the division registers pesticide products and regulates their sale.

"There is always the potential for pesticides to be misused and that's why the department strongly urges people to read the label and follow its directions," says Babbitt. "If the directions aren't followed, it could lead to adverse health effects or damage to other plants and property in the area. If someone uses more than what's called for, uses it someplace where it's not intended, or applies the product at the wrong time of year, it may well be that all bets are off when it comes to effectiveness or safety."

Sounds like a broken record. But that's how important the instructions are.

Home-use pesticides are available not only at garden supply shops, but at many one-stop shopping centers like Fred Meyer and K-Mart. They may be easy to find and easy to purchase, but that doesn't mean they should be treated lightly.

For more information, contact Michael Babbitt or Dale Mitchell at (503) 986-4635. An Excerpt from Congressman Greg Walden's latest newsletter: Harney and Grant counties have the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 19.7 and 19.3 respectively. While the economic situation in these areas is desperate, the people are resilient and determined and, like me, they cannot understand why we cannot make better use of our vast timber resources on federal lands to create lasting family wage jobs, reduce the threat of fire by cleaning out the forests, and generate renewable energy with the debris.

Hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment is ready to come into these two counties in the form of biomass facilities and wind energy, and yet the federal government stands in the way. The uncertainty of supply of fiber from the forests and trying to site a power line on public land are standing between these people's economic recovery and depression-era unemployment. This has to change.

Their plight attracted national news attention with a feature story from Fox News. Click here to watch the piece from Fox News. Attempts by Fox to interview local Forest Service officials were nixed by Obama Administration officials, which is both disturbing and unfortunate.

The power line to connect the green energy from wind would take up about 180 acres of the more than six million acres of BLM land in Harney County. And yet, environmental groups have made it clear they plan an all out-assault to stop the wind energy from getting to the grid.

On the forest side, the Malheur National Forest has about a 28-year backlog of treatment at its current dismal rate. And that's if you took a snapshot in time. It doesn't include the enormous growth and mortality of trees and vegetation on the forest.

I'm drafting legislation that will address the forest issue and the emergency economic conditions in communities such as these. It's time for action.

To read the newsletter in its entirety Click Here OFS NEEDS YOUR CONTINUED FINANCIAL SUPPORT! The OFS Board appreciates our contributing members whose dollars keep our doors open and our staff working diligently to represent your needs at the state and federal levels. We need everyone who is concerned about maintaining their pesticide, fertilizer or bio-tech tools to pitch in and support OFS's efforts - whether that's $50 or $5,000. Now more than ever we must be totally united, a task OFS Grass Roots Director Paulette Pyle is uniquely talented in accomplishing. So please go on line at http://www.ofsonline.org/February/OFS%20Contribution%20Form%202009(a).pdf for a contribution form, or contact Sandi at sandi@ofsonline.org for more information or an invoice or to pay by credit card.


Please contact us with any questions or comments: Terry Witt, Exeuctive Director 503-569-3300 or terry@ofsonline.org Paulette Pyle, Grass Roots Director 503-559-1279 or paulette@ofsonline.org Sandi Schukar, Office Manager 503-370-8092 or sandi@ofsonline.org Have a terrific weekend! Terry, Paulette and Sandi
 
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