Nursery News: News

Chlorpyrifos ban advances to full Oregon Senate

Wednesday, February 26, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Farmer
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The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources last night approved House Bill 4109, a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos statewide.

The committee vote was three in favor, all Democrats, with the two Republican committee members absent due to the GOP House and Senate walkout.

The bill previously was approved last Wednesday by the Oregon House of Representatives on a 32-24 vote. Prior to that, the House rejected an amended “minority report” version — advanced by Oregonians for Food and Shelter and supported by OAN — on a 25-30 vote.

The statewide ban would take effect in January 2022. However, several restrictions would take effect right away, including a 300-foot buffer around schools, an expanded re-entry interval and a ban on all aerial applications.

OAN President Jim Simnitt testified against it last Friday afternoon before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

“(An) early and aggressive timeline for banning chlorpyrifos will leave growers with no alternative, and subject to substantial cost burdens when an unforeseen pest outbreak occurs,” he testified. “With some nursery products like Christmas trees, there are few current alternatives for treatment if a pest is found. This problem could shut down domestic and international markets when there is a short timeline for shipping your plants.”

Earlier, the OAN issued a floor letter asking legislators to vote against the bill. Stone said the OAN is still pushing to keep the minority report version on the table. 

“It’s better, but it’s still not great,” Stone commented for Member Update. “The state should not be doing this. We have a federal government that approves pesticides and sets label restrictions, which our growers follow. Further, the state engaged us in a good faith process to find answers, and lawmakers have now short circuited that by pushing this ban forward. We care about worker safety, and we still hope lawmakers will give everyone at the table the needed time to find agreeable solutions.”