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Oregonians For Food and Shelter Legislative Update

8/17/18 e-Newsletter

Hyperbolic statements about glyphosate have dominated the headlines this week following a California jury ruling against Monsanto in a high profile case. 

The California jury ruled in favor of a school maintenance worker who claimed that glyphosate caused the cancer he has been diagnosed with, and awarded him $289 million. While many in the media have interpreted the ruling to mean that glyhphosate exposure causes cancer, that is a far cry from the truth. 

Every major pesticide regulatory body in the world, including the US EPA, the European Food and Safety Authority, the Australia Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency and others-- agree that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. 

The irony of the sudden panic around glyphosate is that it is one of the most widely used and understood herbicides on the market, with more than 40 years of safe use by growers and land managers. In fact, it is less toxic than table salt, aspirin or caffeine.

So how does a jury get things so wrong? Thankfully several people have taken on this question and it's worth reading their pieces here, here and here. While Monsanto has indicated that they will appeal the ruling, the media stories in the meantime continue to mis-characterize glyphosate and "risk" in general.

This week, glyphosate was in the news again as the Environmental Working Group (of Dirty Dozen list fame) released a "study" that found residues of glyphosate in breakfast cereal. Despite the headline grabbing release, several media outlets actually read the data and found that the EWG used some very creative math.

The bottom line is that a decision by a jury of non-scientists may shape public opinion, but it doesn't change the fact that glyphosate still doesn't cause cancer. 

We know that it can be frustrating to continue to see the misinformation about glyphosate all around us. The only way to combat that is to get out the correct information so we encourage you to share the linked articles above with your family and friends.

Have a great weekend!

Katie, Scott, Diann & Angi
In the News


Farm Babe: What do fishing poles, Disneyland, and Monsanto's Roundup all have in common in California?


In an ongoing debate, mostly related to money and politics, the issue of Roundup herbicide is one that continually swirls social media. The latest? Apparently, the state of California can now require Roundup to have a label on it stating that it is a possible carcinogen.

The problem here is that a majority of regulatory scientific bodies of evidence prove that it is not a carcinogen. The only regulatory body that claims it is a possible carcinogen is the International Agency for Research on Cancer by the World Health Organization, which has been under much scrutiny lately. While some people turn to the IARC as the "gold standard" of cancer research, some have found their methodology heavily flawed and, according to them, pretty much everything causes cancer. The IARC measures hazards, not risks.

The fact that Roundup will carry a carcinogenic label now has ruffled some feathers, no doubt. But Proposition 65 labels pretty much everything carcinogenic, including matches, aloe vera, soda pop, Christmas lights, fishing poles, and even Disneyland. If there is a 1 in 100,000 chance of developing cancer over 70 years, a prop 65 label is required in California. This has resulted in a significant number of lawyers filing proposition 65 lawsuits and has brought lawyers over $150 million in fees since 2000. So even if something isn't actually that dangerous and the odds are very slim, how does and will this continue to affect small California businesses?

Cancer is a very serious disease and we have all probably known someone who has tragically been affected by it. But are these labels justifiable when there are over 900 chemicals and activities listed that might cause cancer? How does one know? more...


WOTUS is Back for 26 States


U.S. farmers thought they had seen the last of the beleaguered Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule in January when the Trump administration moved formally to rescind the regulation and start over with a new version. That broadening of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, however, became the law of the land in 26 states as the U.S. District Court for South Carolina ruled that the administration did not follow the proper rulemaking process in rescinding WOTUS. The court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not meet requirements for public notice nor a sufficient comment period.

The ruling leaves a patchwork of regulation across the country as courts have issued stays blocking the rule in 24 states. Consequently, the South Carolina ruling only impacts those states that do not have a legal stay in place blocking WOTUS.

"Due to a misguided ruling by a single federal district court today, the overbroad, vague and illegal 2015 Waters of the United States Rule is now the law of the land in twenty-six states," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement. "To avoid widespread uncertainty and potential enforcement against ordinary farming activities in these already-uncertain times, we call on the administration to take immediate steps to limit the impact of this dangerous court decision. The U.S. District Court for South Carolina was wrong to invalidate the agency's 'applicability rule' that had simply delayed the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule. The delay rule would have maintained regulatory certainty and stability while the administration completes its reconsideration of the 2015 rule and works to develop a new regulation to provide both clean water and clear rules. Today's court ruling creates enormous regulatory uncertainty and risk for farmers, ranchers and others in the 26 states that are not already protected from the unlawful 2015 rule by previous court decisions."


Exclusive - Ryan Zinke: 'Environmental Terrorist Groups' Play Role in Western U.S. Wildfires


U.S. Department of Interior Secretary (DOI) Ryan Zinke toldBreitbart News Saturday that "environmental terrorist groups" are, in part, responsible for the deadly wildfires in the Western United States. Wildfires have charred hundreds of thousands of acres and caused loss of life, including six firefighters.
Zinke said, while it is true that wildfire seasons have grown dryer and hotter, the underlying cause of the fires themselves is because of the "fuel load" of dead timber and other combustible matter littering forests.

"We have been held hostage by these environmental terrorist groups that have not allowed public access - that have refused to allow [the] harvest of timber," Zinke told Washington Deputy Political Editor Amanda House on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM Patriot 125.

This includes as many as 80 million acres of land filled with trees that have died from beetle infections or other causes.more...


Oregon Farm Bureau Upset by 'Waters of the U.S.' Ruling  


The Oregon Farm Bureau reacted with dismay Thursday to news that a federal judge in South Carolina had issued a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration for delaying the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule.

The decision means the so-called Clean Water Rule is again valid in 26 states, including Oregon, where district courts have not halted the regulation. 

The following statement was issued by Oregon Farm Bureau Public Policy Counsel Mary Anne Cooper:

"Despite outcry from thousands of farm and ranch families from across the nation, today's ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina means that the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule is now in effect in Oregon. more...


OSU Names New Dean for College of Ag


A new dean is coming to the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

The university on Tuesday named Alan Sams to lead the college, succeeding Dan Arp, who will retire at the end of August.

Sams has spent the last nine years as executive associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University, managing academic programs, personnel and budgeting for one of the largest agricultural colleges in the country, with 350 faculty, 7,800 students and a budget of more than $69 million.

At Oregon State, Sams will oversee 250 faculty, 2,600 students and a $90 million research budget. The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences offers 13 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and works closely with state and federal partners including the USDA, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service and National Institutes of Health. more...


Readers Respond: Oregon Wheat and the Work Toward World Peace


Oregon's bountiful agriculture is no secret. As a cornerstone of our economy, Oregon's farmers and food producers have developed a growing international reputation as an innovative food capital. However, what many people do not know is that Oregon's agriculture is also a significant contributor to our country's ability to alleviate humanitarian suffering and lay the foundation for "winning the peace" around the world.

Over the past two weeks, seven ships filled with 176,000 tons of wheat left Portland for Yemen, the scene of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. USAID, which administers the Food for Peace program, purchased the wheat that was grown in the Oregon and across the Pacific Northwest. This purchase benefitted America's wheat famers while helping to meet the immediate food needs of people in crisis in far corners of the world.

War in Yemen has driven more than 18 million people to the brink of starvation. When communities cannot access food, people confront challenging and often destructive choices. Vulnerable populations are more likely to be forced to abandon their farms and homes. They are more susceptible to being recruited into gangs or militias. Women risk death or sexual assault when they have to travel miles alone searching for food. Families risk starvation and even death. more...


Two Views: Federal Forestland in Oregon Needs to be Managed Differently


This summer our skies are choked with smoke - again. The sky is orange and the smell and taste of smoke is pervasive. As a native Oregonian, I know it's getting worse.

It doesn't have to be this way. Two-thirds of Oregon's forests are federally-owned, and the smoke we're inhaling today is due to their lack of management or harvest for decades. The solution is simple: continue sustainable harvest of wood in Oregon's private forests and increase harvest on federal forests.

Rampant, unchecked megafires in federal forests have catastrophic consequences for our safety, health, communities, and economy. Last summer, more than 7,600 people were evacuated from their homes. Oregonians suffered unhealthy air quality, emergency-room visits spiked, and the cancellations of Oregon Shakespeare Festival performances, the Sisters Folk Festival, and Cycle Oregon cost our state millions in tourism dollars.

An area roughly the size of Rhode Island burned last summer in Oregon.  An equal number of fires started in federal and private forests, but roughly 95 percent of the acres burned in federal forests. more...


Behind The Politics: Oregon State Rep. Knute Buehler


Before the political season really heats up, "Think Out Loud" sat down with the two most prominent candidates for Oregon governor for intimate one-on-one conversations about their lives. We didn't talk much about politics, but instead focused on their families, their backgrounds, and their motivations. 

We spoke with Republican Rep. Knute Buehler on the back porch of his home in Bend in mid-July. Our conversation with his Democratic opponent is here.

Here are five things we learned about him: more...


Behind The Politics: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown


Before the political season really heats up, "Think Out Loud" sat down with the two most prominent candidates for Oregon governor for intimate one-on-one conversations about their lives. We didn't talk much about politics but instead focused on their families, their backgrounds and their motivations. 

We spoke with the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Kate Brown, in the living room at Mahonia Hall, the official governor's residence in Salem. Our conversation with her Republican opponent is here

Here are five things we learned about Brown: more...
In This Issue
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