Sunday, November 5, 2006

EPA fines Ag Air for use of toxic pesticide on Yakama lands

by Terri Crawford Hansen
Environment and Science Reporter
Native American Times

Illegal use of the highly toxic pesticide “Warrior” on the Yakama Nation by an outside company resulted in a $3,120 penalty last month.

Yakama Nation Inspector Rodney Guske teamed with the Environmental Protection Agency in investigating Ag Air, an aerial pesticide applicator who sprayed the insecticide contrary to the product’s label instructions, a direct violation of the law.

As part of Federal Indian Policy, EPA recognizes the primary role of Tribal Governments in regulatory activities that impact reservation environments.

“EPA and the Yakama Pesticide Program are committed to ensuring that all pesticides are applied responsibly and all label instructions are followed,” said Mike Bussell, Director of EPA Region 10’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement.

“Whether applicators are on or off reservation property, they must do whatever it takes to prevent accidental drift or overspray episodes. Protecting human health and the safety of our food supply is serious business.”

Philip Dickey, a staff scientist with the Washington Toxics Coalition—who has successfully sued the federal government to put a stop to pesticide use that jeopardizes endangered or threatened species—said, “Anything such as the insecticide Warrior that paralyzes the nervous system is a neurotoxin—a nerve gas,” adding there are safe and far more effective alternatives.

Warrior is extremely poisonous to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and honeybees. It pollutes groundwater and is persistent in river sediments.

Ag Air of Granger, Washington, sought relief from the judgment, appealing to a federal administrative law judge who ruled against the Company and then to the Environmental Appeals Board, which upheld the Judge’s decision.

To learn more about Pesticide safety, visit:
The PAN Pesticides database: