OFS Legislative Update 3/27

Oregonians for Food and Shelter
Legislative Report 3/20


SB 570 metal-theft: A Senate Judiciary hearing was held on March 16th with a room full of supporters.  SB 570 is the bill being used to strengthen current law regarding the theft and recycling of non-ferrous metals to scrap dealers.   OFS, food processors, Oregon nurseries, agriculture and other natural resource representatives testified in support of more stringent laws.

Terry Witt started his testimony with the following: “How bad is metal theft in Oregon?  Have you noticed that 22 of the 50 bronze plaques on the 2005 Capitol mall project Walk of Flags have already been ripped off?”    All pointed out the significance of metal theft not only in the cost of replacing the stolen materials, but the potential for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to crops or perishable foods.   A Douglas County Sheriff provided the committee with information on how gates, irrigation parts, etc. were stolen from forestlands and sold to the local scrap metal recyclers for cash.   There were also comments from the metal recyclers who were cautioning the committee about the stringency of the bill.  Unfortunately, this could easily be the case where the credible scrap metal recyclers could be tainted with the bad actors in their businesses.  The committee is working on amendments but it is a foregone conclusion that additional reforms will be passed in 2009.    OFS supports.

SB 382 log haulers compensation: Was heard on March 16th before the Senate Commerce and Workforce Development Committee.  If passed it would require the State Forester to set compensation rates for log haulers; i.e.; unionization of log haulers.  The bill was introduced by William Street, a representative the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  Two OFS Board members, Jake Gibbs of Lone Rock Timber Management Company and Greg Miller of Weyerhaeuser, testified in opposition of the bill.  Others testifying in opposition were: Ray Wilkeson, OFIC; Dave Schmidt, OR Small Woodlands Association; Ralph Saperstein, Boise; Terry Witt, OFS; Mike Dewey, Stimson Lumber Company; Bob Russell, OR Log Truck Association; and Shawn Cleave, OR Farm Bureau.  Gene Stevens from Rosboro could not attend, but sent his testimony to Committee Members.    Key problems with SB 382:   (1) the bill runs afoul of the federal preemption law (FAAA) which prohibits states from regulating rates charged by motor carriers; and (2) Sherman federal anti-trust law prevents and severely limits states from restraining trade or limiting competition.    OFS opposes.

HB 2211 fertilizer statutes: Update/clean up of Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) fertilizer statutes.  Issue is “soil enhancing products”.  Hearing was held on March 17th in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities.   OFS supports.

HB 2212: Revises ODA’s quarantine authority; plant pest as public nuisance hearing was held in House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities on March 17th.  OFS supports.

HB 2999 PURS Bill: This is Representative Clem’s PURS bill which changes the reporting location for non-urban uses (namely agriculture and forestry) from water basin to watershed.   The measure also extends the sunset from 12/31/2009 to 1/2/2016.    The bill is up for a hearing in Chair Clem’s House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Rural Communities Committee on March 24 at 8:00 AM in HR-D.    OFS supports HB-2999 (not SB-184 or SB-800) as the right vehicle and the right committee to deal with PURS this session.

DEQ Priority Persistent Pollutant List Deadline Looms Large

Working to meet a deadline to report to the 2009 legislature from Senate Bill 737 (2007), DEQ will close a 25-day comment period for input on their draft “3P List” on March 27.    The process used by DEQ is drawing considerable criticism from pesticide product registrant scientists and natural resource folks alike.   SB-737, now in Oregon statute, states, the list is to include:  “‘Persistent pollutant’ means a substance that is toxic and either persists in the environment or accumulates in the tissues of humans, fish, wildlife or plants.”

Agency folks have published their final draft list of 175 priority persistent pollutants, stating they are chemicals “that have a documented effect on human health, wildlife and aquatic life.”   This was determined for the most part by using models to determine if a chemical was on or off the list – sort of.   Only “sort of” because if the model which factored in toxicity and persistence and bio-accumulation did not give the “correct” answer, some chemicals were put on the list by giving a specific toxicity characteristic extra weight.    The end result is that 40% of the chemicals on the draft list turned out to be pesticides.

OFS staff and Board thank all the product registrants and CropLife America for their assistance in this issue – which is not over yet.    For more on SB-737, the DEQ process and what is yet to come by visiting the DEQ Website http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/SB737/


Our thanks to those of you who commented to EPA about 2,4-D.  We received the following update from Jim Gray, Executive Director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data.  He can be reached at [email protected]  or at 1-800-345-5109.  The Website address for Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data is: http://www.24d.org

On February 23, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closed the public comment period on a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking to cancel registrations of 2,4-D herbicide and revoke its residue tolerances. The Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data anticipates that EPA will deny the petition and stand on its major scientific reassessment  of 2,4-D and determination of eligibility for continued registration completed in 2005. EPA is also well aware of ongoing studies to further strengthen the database on 2,4-D.

It is not unusual for the NRDC and other interest groups to petition EPA for the cancellation of a pesticide registration.  In response to several recent petitions, EPA has published a notice inviting public comments, carefully reviewed those comments and ultimately issued denials of the petitioners’ requests.  The EPA’s reviews and responses obviously take time to complete.  NRDC’s petition to cancel dichlorvos in 2006 resulted in an order denying the petition in 2007.  EPA followed a similar time course in response to a petition to revoke tolerances for carbaryl in 2007 by denying the petition in 2008.

For 2,4-D, the Task Force does not take for granted that EPA will deny NRDC’s petition. Rather, the Task Force submitted detailed scientific comments in response to NRDC’s petition, and was pleased that its many friends also urged EPA to deny the petition given EPA’s recent thorough and thoughtful review of 2,4-D in the June 2005 Re-registration Eligibility Decision.

During the 2,4-D comment period, over 431 comments were submitted; overwhelmingly supporting EPA’s 2005 re-registration decision.  Some 14 comments were negative, but provided no new or compelling evidence for EPA to cancel the product.  Thank you to all the foresters, ranchers, farmers, scientists and habitat managers that wrote the Agency, providing real-world information on the value of 2,4-D to their management programs.

The Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data and the many users of 2,4-D are proud of the more than 300 state-of-the art GLP studies on mammalian toxicity, ecotoxicity, environmental fate and residue that support 2,4-D registrations.  EPA’s recent Re-registration Eligibility Decision thoroughly reviewed this data base against the demanding environmental, food and child safety standards of the pesticide laws, FIFRA and FQPA. Other governmental authorities, such as Canada’s PMRA and the EU’s pesticide regulatory authority have also given 2,4-D a clean bill of health.  Simply put, few pesticides, indeed few substances of any type, have been so thoroughly tested and so often reviewed by authorities worldwide as the herbicide 2,4-D. The NRDC petition raises no new issues that have not been thoroughly considered by others before.

The Task Force’s comments that carefully respond to the petition’s allegations are posted on the Task Force website at www.24d.org.  We are confident that the Agency will deny the petition and re-confirm its 2005 decision that when used according to label directions 2,4-D meets FIFRA and FQPA standards for registration and establishment of residue tolerances.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter

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