The current political climate has slowed or reversed progress towards meaningful pesticide reform at the national level. NCAP recognizes the need for states to step up and make lasting legislative change for the health of our communities and wildlife.
Our 2019 legislative priorities for the Northwest include:
Chlorpyrifos and Neonicotinoids (Oregon)
As part of the Oregon Pollinator Protection Alliance, NCAP is supporting a bill that will make a difference for pollinators, people and salmon! HB 3058 and SB 853 would both ban chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) and restrict the sale of neonicotinoids to licensed applicators. Chlorpyrifos is highly toxic to farm workers, children and salmon. Neonicotinoids are toxic at extremely low levels to bees, and persist in the environment.
NCAP attended a lobby day on March 11 to meet with legislators about the bills and urge their support. These bills also had committee hearings in Salem on Tuesday, March 26. NCAP and a host of other organizations and advocates testified orally and in writing.
Farm Worker Family Protections (Washington)
We will safeguard farm worker families from pesticide drift by supporting efforts to establish a pesticide use reporting system, a notification system, and buffers around schools, homes and daycare centers. We supported HB 1725/SB 5550 (passed in 2018) as a first step, but in order to have meaningful change, we need to address drift, reduce pesticide use and consider a long term policy and rule change that will immediately protect farm workers and children. HB 1725/SB 5550 will re-establish a Pesticide Incident and Reporting Team and provide funds for training. It passed with strong bipartisan support and although originally based on a workshop recommendation to create a pesticide use reporting system and notification to protect farm workers and prevent injury, it’s now a system to respond and collect data after an incident occurs. It’s supported by the agricultural industry and chemical lobbyists, so we’ll be watching closely and working for meaningful change next year.
Adequate Staffing for Immigrant Worker Programs (Washington)
As a member of the Farm Worker Coalition of Washington, we are submitting comments in support of HB 1398. We have witnessed how the growth of the H2A program has impacted local farm worker communities, and we support policies that protect workers and bring dignity to working families. Socially just worker protection regulation is a basic element of agricultural sustainability, along with environmental stewardship and economic viability. With these values in mind, we signed on to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Principles on Immigration Reform in 2013 and continue to support protections for workers and their families.
The H2A program is like a multi-million-dollar payroll leaving our state – a payroll local farm workers have historically spent in rural communities. House Bill 1398 equips our agencies with adequate staffing and a mandate to take on the challenges and complexities of the H2A program.
Prevent Insecticide Sprays over Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor (Washington)
We will protect Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor from dangerous applications of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. Three bills were introduced that would declare a state of emergency for the bays, undermine the statutory authorities of the Department of Ecology (DOE) and disregard research showing likely harm from imidacloprid to the delicate balance of these estuaries. In a spring 2018 re-examination of the application, DOE determined imidacloprid to have significant, adverse and unavoidable impacts to both sediment quality and invertebrates living in the sediments and water column. DOE must be able to continue the work of protecting water quality and protecting the ecology of the state. We oppose the passage of HB 1037, HB 1611 and SB 5626.
Victory! 3/20/2019 Update:
We provided written and oral testimony in opposition of HB 1037, HB 1611 and SB 5626 along with a large group of concerned residents. We are happy to report that these bills are not moving forward! We will continue to monitor for pesticide application requests.
Saving America’s Pollinators Act (National)
Originally introduced in 2014, the current bill, led by Congressman Earl Blumenaur, proposes banning the bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides and directs the EPA to establish a pollinator board that would independently review pesticides for their impact to pollinators or their habitat. We will push representatives to co-sponsor this bill and bring it to a vote.