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Friday, March 31, 2017 
 
From OFS / Oregonians for Food and Shelter Newsletter

Legislative Review
 
On Monday, March 27th, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on two bills relating to neonicotinoids. SB 928 would require "raw agricultural commodities" to be labeled that they were produced using neonicotinoids if they had been treated with those products at any point during their life. This would be the first time a pesticide labeling scheme would be required for crops. Under the bill, this labeling would be required regardless if the final commodity has any detectable pesticide residue.
 
The second bill was SB 929 which would make neonicotinoids "restricted use" pesticides. This limits the purchase and use of these products to certified pesticide applicators. There is an exemption in the bill for commercial farmers, but no details on how someone would prove that they meet that requirement in order to purchase and use neonicotinoids. 
 
The hearing was quite a spectacle with many bill proponents wearing bee costumes, and one of them even reading a poem that they wrote as testimony. They spoke mostly about bees and very little about neonicotinoids.
 
In contrast, the group of people speaking in opposition to the bills seemed reasonable and logical. Testimony focused on why neonicotinoids should not be singled out and that when used according to the label, they do not pose an unreasonable risk to bees. There was no indication at the end of the hearing to if either bill will be moving forward, but we will be sure to update you if either of them is scheduled for a Work Session.
 
Thank you to everyone who sent a message to your legislator, and especially those who came to the Capitol to testify on Monday: Jeff Stone, Michelle Armstrong, Bill Case, Thurman Main, Blake Rowe, Roger Beyer, Leigh Geschwell, Josh Zielinski and Jenny Dresler.
 
Foresters on the Capitol steps after the hearing on HB 3226.
Yesterday, the Capitol was filled with foresters who came to town to oppose HB 3226. The bill is a direct attack on the Forest Practices Act from anti-forestry activist groups. While it was disappointing to see such a terrible bill get a hearing, it turned into a great opportunity for foresters to tout the great work they do. OFIC did a great job of organizing the group and the turnout was overwhelming. It's the first time this year we saw a group fill the hearing room, an overflow room AND have people in the foyer watching the hearing on TV! 
 
Great job by OFIC in organizing the group, and a big thank you to all of the foresters and forest landowners who showed up at the Capitol yesterday to defend the Forest Practices Act.
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Katie, Scott, Diann & Angi
In the News

EPA Administrator Pruitt Denies Petition to Ban Widely Used Pesticide
 
WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order denying a petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide crucial to U.S. agriculture.

"We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment," said EPA Administrator Pruitt. "By reversing the previous Administration's steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making - rather than predetermined results."

"This is a welcome decision grounded in evidence and science," said Sheryl Kunickis, director of the Office of Pest Management Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). "It means that this important pest management tool will remain available to growers, helping to ensure an abundant and affordable food supply for this nation and the world.  This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States. It is also great news for consumers, who will continue to have access to a full range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables. We thank our colleagues at EPA for their hard work."

In October 2015, under the previous Administration, EPA proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an active ingredient in insecticides.  This proposal was issued in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. The October 2015 proposal largely relied on certain epidemiological study outcomes, whose application is novel and uncertain, to reach its conclusions. more...
Fired Commissioners Defend Hiring of DEQ Director
 
SALEM - Three former state environmental quality commissioners say they were fired Wednesday by Gov. Kate Brown because they defied the governor in selecting a director for the Department of Environmental Quality.
 
Commissioners kept the Governor's Office informed every step of the way in their search for a new director, but Gov. Brown did not make her wishes known until the "11th hour," former commission Chairwoman Colleen Johnson wrote in a statement.
 
"She went so far as to suggest that any decision contrary to her wishes could have negative consequences," Johnson wrote.
 
The three commissioners - Johnson and Morgan Rider and Melinda Eden - received a phone call early Wednesday informing them of Brown's decision. The governor's news release on the change included the names of her nominees to replace the three commissioners, indicating the decision had been in the works for some time. more...
Activists Shouldn't Determine State Forest Policy
 
The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that should have the attention of every Oregonian. Whether you are someone who has worked in the woods, has parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents who have worked in the woods, or just care about the health of our forests, House Bill 3226 is a piece of legislation to keep your eye on. Forestry is the backbone of Oregon's heritage, and this legislation flies in the face of scientifically backed forest management.
 
This is not a new topic for The Register-Guard; recent columns have mischaracterized my profession and activities associated with Oregon forestry.
 
I am an Oregon State University-trained professional forester who grew up on a tree farm that was passed down to my dad from his father. I consider myself an environmentalist in the truest sense of the word. I have a deep love for the sweeping views of misty forests I enjoy daily while I work in the woods with my dog, Timber, or while hiking and hunting in the woods with my forester-husband.
 
That is why I can't help but characterize HB 3226 as the most offensive bill I've had the displeasure to read. more...
Labels, Restrictions Proposed for Neonicotinoid Pesticides
 
SALEM - Neonicotinoid pesticides, which critics blame for death and illness among pollinators, would be subject to new restrictions and labeling rules under two bills proposed in Oregon.
 
Labels would be required for pesticides containing neonicotinoids, as well as seeds and raw crops treated with the chemicals, under Senate Bill 928.
 
The entire class of neonicotinoid insecticides would be restricted under Senate Bill 929 to only be available to licensed pesticide applicators, farmers and veterinarians.
 
These measures are necessary because neonicotinoids have been implicated in large-scale die-offs of pollinators, as well as long-term health problems for these species, according to proponents. more...
Bill Would Remove Barrier to Oregon Pesticide Lawsuits 
 
SALEM - Filing lawsuits over alleged pesticide damages would be easier in Oregon under a bill that would eliminate a plaintiff's responsibility to first notify farm regulators.
 
Currently, anybody who claims to be harmed by pesticides must submit a report within 60 days to the Oregon Department of Agriculture before taking legal action against the landowner or applicator.
 
Senate Bill 500 would remove this requirement, which is characterized by proponents as an unfair impediment to justice and by critics as a reasonable barrier to frivolous litigation.

 
"Keep things the way they are," urged Denver Pugh, a farmer near Shedd, Ore., during a March 22 legislative hearing. more...
Hemp Bills Would Move Crop Into Mainstream 
 
SALEM - Hemp would be brought further into the mainstream of Oregon agriculture under two bills that create a commodity commission and seed certification process for the crop.
 
"Industrial hemp has a huge potential in Oregon, we just need a few tweaks to help move it forward," said Matt Cyrus, who grows hemp in Deschutes County, during a March 28 legislative hearing.
 
Under House Bill 2372, Oregon's hemp industry would join 23 other crop, livestock and seafood sectors to have a state commission aimed at promoting and researching a commodity through fees raised from producers.
 
Breeders of new hemp varieties could also get the purity of their seeds certified under House Bill 2371, similarly to other crop species, through a system overseen by Oregon State University. more...
Read Signals Intent to Pursue Public Ownership Option for Elliott Forest
 
SALEM - After a sustained outcry from environmental groups, Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read appeared to signal his intent Tuesday to side with the governor in her evolving plan to stop the impending sale of an expanse of coastal forest in Southern Oregon.
 
Read said Tuesday that he sees a "path forward" for public ownership of about 82,500 acres of the Elliott Forest in Coos and Douglas counties.
 
Last month, though, the treasurer voiced qualified support for a proposal to sell the forest to a partnership between a Roseburg timber company and a Native American tribe.
 
Read announced Tuesday that he would work with the Department of State Lands to develop a plan for the forest that would end its obligation to generate revenue for the Common School Fund, which is essentially an endowment for K-12 education. more...
Nearly Doubling Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Sets Up Battle
 
Eagle Point, Ore. - To rancher Lee Bradshaw, the presidential order nearly doubling the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was both shocking and predictable.
 
Ever since the original 53,000 acres of public land were designated as a monument in 2000, there had been whispers about enlarging it.
 
Even so, the announcement during the final days of President Barack Obama's administration in early 2017 appeared rushed to Bradshaw, particularly since a handful of meetings held about the expansion were more about creating hype than seeking public input, he said.
 
"I knew it was coming our way, but it was unexpected about the way they did it," Bradshaw said. more...
Oregon Seeks To Regulate 'Dangerous, Preventable' Cow Farts
 
The state of Oregon is considering legislation to regulate farting. Cow farts, that is. Advocates of the bill argue that government regulation of cow farts, or "dairy emissions" as they call them, is a commonsense measure to prevent global warming and the safety of the public.
 
Citing the dangers of bovine flatulence, a spokesperson for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility stated that cow farts are dangerously unregulated and preventable. According to a letter sent to the Senate Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources, in addition to smelling bad and causing global warming, cow farts can irritate your eyes, cause memory loss, and even death. These are all good things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself eye-level with the business end of a cow. You won't even remember what killed you.
 
What else can you expect from a state that makes it illegal to pump your own gas or whistle underwater (don't knock it till you've tried it)? Senate Bill 197 is in response to the construction of new industrial dairy operations that would house 30,000 cows, produce 210,000 gallons of milk daily, employee up to 150 people in an economically disadvantaged area, and be the second largest dairy operation in the state. In a county where the average yearly income is just around $20,000, this dairy operation would invest $50 million into the local economy every year. more...

 

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