Hello? Rome Is Burning
As a special two-house conference committee met to consider ways to close a $24 billion budget gap, the Assembly spent the first hour of its June 1 session approving 12 pieces of legislation.
Among them, AB 21.
The measure orders the Department of Pesticide Regulation to “conduct a review” of the “assessment undertaken pursuant to the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 20th meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel regarding methyl bromide.”
After its review, the department is required to comment on its findings and submit those comments to the Legislature “in a timely manner.”
Said Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, a Long Beach Democrat, of her bill: “It’s a win-win for the state economically and environmentally.”
Much of the bill is devoted to statistics about the importance of international trade to California’s economy – not exactly a shocking revelation, particularly for an Assemblywoman who has the Port of Long Beach in her district.
There is also a discussion of the downsides of methyl bromide, an odorless, colorless soil fumigant used in growing strawberries and other crops.
Methyl bromide also depletes the ozone lawyer. Workers who fumigate with methyl bromide “would benefit from the most stringent health safeguards possible.”
The parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol are examining the use of methyl bromide, the availability of alternatives and technologies to recapture it or destroy methyl bromide.
When the report is published, the department is required to comment on those findings that are “relevant to California.”
During the afternoon session, the lower house unanimously approved AB 606 which would create the California Blueberry Commission. Blueberry growers would pay for the operations of the commission which is charged with the “education, promotion, marketing and research of blueberries.”
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