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GroundTruth Blog

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Feb 07, 2018
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This post is part three in our “Science for Solutions” blog series that amplifies scientist voices and underscores the importance of independent science as the foundation for evidence-based policymaking and narrative shifts. On a brilliant day in July, twenty-some years ago, I stood ankle-deep in the cool mud of a fragrant rice field in central Thailand, listening to the farmers around me discuss the bugs on the plants (were these “satru puut” or “satru thammachat”? pests or natural enemies?), and whether or not the Nitrogen-fixing aquatic Azolla they had introduced into one of their... Read More
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Emily Marquez
Feb 02, 2018
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I try to be optimistic, but the past year hasn't been a great one for science. The "war on science" you hear people talking about? It's real, and we're already seeing its results. Without input from researchers on the leading edge of science, policymakers are less equipped to make informed decisions — and it's easier for industry lobbyists to get their way. Vacant posts, less advice The numbers tell the story well. The Trump administration has filled only 20 of 83 top scientific posts as of the end of 2017, far fewer than the Obama or G.W. Bush administrations at the same point (63 and... Read More
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Paul Towers
Jan 30, 2018
As the new legislative year kicked off in January, PAN joined food and farm groups across California in distributing a report card for California legislators, scoring them on their support of food & farming legislation from the previous year. And while nearly half of legislators earned a 100% ranking, the results belie efforts by legislators to advance more transformative policies. A collaborative effort I had the great opportunity over the past year to facilitate phone calls with dozens of state and local organizations identifying food and farming bills, collectively ranking them,... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jan 25, 2018
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With the 2018 growing season approaching, agricultural states across the country are stepping up to ensure farmers don’t experience the same pesticide drift epidemic that wreaked havoc on farmland last summer. Application of the drift-prone herbicide in question, dicamba, led to an estimated 3.6 million acres of crop damage last year after a rushed approval of Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line. State restrictions taking hold Arkansas is leading the charge of states standing up against dicamba. Last week, state lawmakers approved a plan to ban the herbicide from April 16 through... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jan 25, 2018
A new, national report shows that organophosphate pesticides (OPs) threaten the health of aquatic wildlife, notably orca and salmon. Researchers at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) evaluated malathion, diazinon and the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos was slated for a national ban at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last spring, due to known health harms to children and farmworkers. Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed course on the decision after a meeting with Dow Chemical, leaving the dangerous insecticide on the market. Not just bad for children'... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jan 11, 2018
On Tuesday, California lawmakers took steps to add stricter penalties for pesticide drift violations in the state. With a 5-0 vote, members of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee moved AB 1419 forward, signaling support for the health and safety of California farmworkers and farming communities. Protections for farmworkers The bill, which was authored by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), gives the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) authority to issue larger fines to companies that violate rules around pesticide spray and drift, endangering... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jan 11, 2018
In early January, the City Council of Portland, Maine unanimously passed a tough ban on synthetic pesticide use in the city, leading many Portland residents to applaud their city’s new “organic” status. The ordinance comes in as one of the strongest pesticide use reduction policies in the country. A strong city ordinance Beginning July 1, 2019, residents and city workers of Portland won’t be using synthetic pesticides, and violators will face fines ranging from $100 to $500. The ordinance also creates an advisory committee to develop a robust campaign to educate the public and retailers... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Dec 21, 2017
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released several scientific assessments that found commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) can kill and harm birds of all sizes. This comes on the heels of new research from the University of Saskatchewan, with experimental evidence finding dramatic effects of neonics on birds inhabiting farmland or open countryside — causing migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss. While honey bees are the most commonly discussed pollinator endangered by pesticide exposure, this research is a... Read More
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