Last week, Western Growers submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) criticizing their proposed regulations defining the waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies requested public comments on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that determine the range of waters that fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
California is still in drought conditions and experts say that almost regardless of what happens this winter, there will be water delivery challenges next year. In fact, precipitation and snowpack would have to come in at about 150 percent of normal before water deliveries could return to a more regular level.
A.G. Kawamura, owner and partner of Orange County Produce, L.L.C. and Western Growers Board Director, recently spoke at a local TEDx Orange Coast Conference taking on the notion that our national food system is broken and needs fixed. His speech entitled, “Food is a privilege, not a right,” takes on the critics who think that we need to change our views about food and agriculture.
Mark Stone was part of the huge freshman class that was elected to the State Assembly in 2012. Prior to that he was on the board of supervisors for Santa Cruz County and also served on the California Coastal Commission.
According to a press release issued by the EPA, a new active ingredient has been registered as an alternative to methyl bromide and other soil fumigants. Fluensulfone is a new class of chemistry to control nematodes and is being registered first for ground use on cucumbers, melons, squash, tomatoes, okra, eggplant and peppers (the Federal Register Notice is expected by September 19, 2014).
Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement in support of H.R. 5078, a bill that would delay action on EPA’s Water of the U.S. Rule:
"Western Growers members strongly believe in the value of clean water, but we also believe that in administering the Clean Water Act the EPA and Army Corps must do so with outmost input from state and local officials. HR 5078 intends to ensure that before a new rule for the Clean Water Act can be issued that proper state and local consultation be taken. Western Growers supports this effort and passage of this bill."
Citrus grower Nick Hill of Green Leaf Farms, Kingsburg, CA, said the Golden State’s citrus industry has learned a lot about the Asian Citrus Psyllid and the devastating citrus greening disease that it can spread because of the mistakes made in Florida.
As far as acts go, Pasquinelli & Leno may not have the cache of Seigfried & Roy, Abbott & Costello or Bonnie & Clyde, but the duo is sure to bring down the house at the Award of Honor Dinner during the 89th Annual Meeting of Western Growers at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nov. 2-5.
According to the EPA, litigation which made the agency defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and others has been settled. As the result of a stipulated injunction, the EPA is directed to reinstate a “no-spray” buffer zone to protect endangered or threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead. The buffer zones apply to waters that support salmon in California, Oregon and Washington and are imposed on the following pesticides: carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and methomyl.