After vigorous objections by many people and
in the Bay Area, officials from the California Department of Food
Agriculture (CDFA) have called off the aerial spraying in populated
they had planned to restart this summer in an attempt to eradicate
light brown apple moth (LBAM).
The CDFA had planned to set up a program to spray
often as 3 times a month over 9 months of the year for 5 years or
to attempt to eradicate the moth. However, just as
with the WNv controversy, officials seemed to ignore the science of
Entomologists initially said that eradication is not
possible and that the spraying should not be done.
the CDFA persevered. See
report, which raises significant questions about both the
efficacy and safety of the spray, in which A.G.
Kawamura, Secretary of the CDFA, dismisses opposition by a UC Davis
professor and expert in invasion biology with the false claim that
is not an entomologist. His staff later said he was
"confused." It is not clear what is confusing about the
credentials of expert
entomologists, but as in the case of spraying urban areas
for West Nile virus there does indeed seem to be a confusion on the
part of officials about both the efficacy and safety of what they
doing, perhaps stemming from a general confusion about what
See a theatrical
video "LBAM Takes San Francisco."
On May 12, Judge
Robert O’Farrell ruled "that California’s Agriculture
A.G. Kawamura, violated the law when the state aerially sprayed
untested, ‘secret’ pesticides on cities, children and wildlife." The
judge then ordered the spraying stopped until the CDFA completes an
Environmental Impact Report.
On June 19, CDFA officials called
off the spraying. In so doing "Kawamura admitted he found the
public outcry 'troubling' and said it showed his agency had to
more outreach." So, instead of paying attention to the science
and facts and permanently dispensing with the urban-spray protocol,
Kawamura decides that his agency needs to put more effort into
convincing people that a flawed protocol should be used. This
the same sort of convoluted reasoning we face on a regular basis in
controversy over the spraying of urban areas for WNv.