Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 872, a bill that seeks to overturn key protections against harmful pesticide spraying in waterways. Thank you to all the Baykeeper members who contacted your Representatives to urge them to oppose the bill: all Bay Area Representatives voted no on HR 872, excepting Jerry McNerney (D-District 11). Only three more votes against the bill would have stopped its passage.
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate. We'll continue monitoring the progress of the bill and keep you informed. Baykeeper is committed to protecting our local waterways from harmful pesticide spraying, and the support of our local members is vital to our efforts.
Here's the background on HR 872:
With this legislation, the agricultural industry is attempting to revoke the Environmental Protection Agency's duty to protect waterways from pesticides. They argue that controls on aquatic pesticide spraying create an undue burden on farmers because they apply to all farming activity – when in fact the regulations specifically apply only to pesticide applications that target waterways.
In 2009, San Francisco Baykeeper defeated an attempt by the Bush Administration to exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act when a federal Court of Appeals reaffirmed that pesticides are pollutants when applied to waterways and must be federally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act.
These regulations are vital for protecting the health of our waterways, aquatic life and local communities. Pesticides are manufactured to be toxic to living things and cause great harm to public health and aquatic ecosystems, particularly fish and amphibian life. In addition, pesticides move up the food chain and can contaminate drinking water supplies.