City may oppose apple moth spraying

San Francisco may join a growing list of counties protesting a state plan to aerial spray the Bay Area to control the spread of the light brown apple moth.

The non-native agricultural pest has been found in traps all across The City, according to state officials who attended a City Hall hearing Monday. They said the moths’ plant-eating caterpillars could cost California’s agricultural industry hundreds of millions of dollars if they spread to the rest of the state.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Program Chief Bob Dowell during the hearing said areas within 1½ miles of the traps would be treated with a range of anti-moth devices, including aerial pheromone treatments; pheromone- and insecticide-doused twist-ties; and parasitic wasps.

“If it’s within the radius, we’re going to treat it,” he said.

The department hasn’t decided which product will be sprayed in the fall as part of an effort to eradicate the moths, Dowell said.

The contents of the pheromone sprays will not be revealed for proprietary reasons, Dowell said, adding that such a treatment has never been attempted over a highly populated urban area such as San Francisco.

More than 600 people reported falling ill after Santa Cruz and Monterey counties were sprayed last year, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment official Anna Fan said during the hearing. At the end of the hearing, before the Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee, city legislators recommended that the full board vote to adopt two resolutions that oppose the proposed aerial sprays.

One, authored by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is based on a letter he wrote to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking for the state to study the health consequences before proceeding with the moth spraying.

The second resolution, by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, directs the City Attorney’s Office to investigate legal options to help prevent the sprays.

The city of Santa Cruz filed a lawsuit against the state last year in aneffort to stop the spray; Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland have also passed resolutions opposing the state’s plan to spray aerially.

jupton@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

José Victor Luna and Maria Anabella Ochoa, who cite health reasons for continuing distance learning, say they have been enjoying walking in Golden Gate Park with their daughters Jazmin, a first grader, and Jessica, a third grader. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Some SFUSD families prefer distance learning

Health issues, classroom uncertainties among reasons for staying home

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation intended to help California schools reopen. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Newsom signs $6.6 billion school reopening legislative package

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Gov. Gavin Newsom and state… Continue reading

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

Most Read