Several organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group and Center for Food Safety as well as the city of Berkeley, California, have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture to contest the agency’s approval of a pest management plan that allows pesticide spraying on organic farms, schools and residential yards. Envtl. Working Grp. V. Cal. Dep’t of Food and Agric., No. RG15755648 (Super Ct. Cal., Alameda Cnty., filed January 22, 2015).
The groups challenge the alleged lack of evidence supporting the conclusion that the program will have no effect on Californians’ health and argue that the plan violates state environmental laws, including the requirement of public notice before spraying pesticides and the requirement to analyze the impacts on human and environmental health. A January 22, 2015, Center for Biological Diversity press release asserts that the agency received 30,000 opposition letters to the program. “What will it take to make the state accountable to the tens of thousands of individuals who wrote comment letters asking the state to adopt a modern, sustainable pest management approach that would ensure that food and nursery plants are not contaminated by pesticides?,” Nan Wishner, a representative of plaintiff California Environmental Health Initiative, reportedly asked.