If you’re following federal and local toxics news, you’ve probably heard about PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) which are found in many manufactured products, from nonstick pans to raincoat material and food containers.
Early this year, the Guardian reported that residents of Mead, Nebraska — a tiny town of 600 near Omaha — were getting sick, and also noticing livestock and bee fatalities. The cause? All signs point to AltEn, a neighboring ethanol plant found to be processing thousands of pounds of unused pesticide-treated corn seed from all across the country.
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Court of Appeals announced that the previous environmental review of the contested Line 3 pipeline was inadequate. Their reasoning? The Canadian energy giant Enbridge had failed to consider the potential impact of an oil spill in Lake Superior’s watershed.
In April, hundreds of Minnesotans gathered at the state capitol for the annual “Water Action Day,” where constituents meet with legislators on a range of issues that affect clean water. On the short list? Local control over pesticides. Preemption — when one level of government trumps the laws passed by another — has become a focal point for community organizing across social movements.
As the headlines of their corporate misdeeds pile up, the Monsanto name is becoming even more synonymous with shady dealings and the obfuscation of science, all at the expense of public health. Will the company’s recent mega-merger with fellow seed and pesticide giant Bayer erase Monsanto’s track record? Bayer seems to think so, as they made the decision to drop the Monsanto name completely post-merger. But we’re not too worried.
As the Minnesota legislature adjourned last week, I was left with mixed feelings of disappointment and hope for Minnesota pesticide legislation.
Going into this legislative session PAN and our allies knew that we would be playing a tough game of defense. What we didn’t expect? While legislators had a field day attacking clean water, air, and pipeline protections, we witnessed some key tone shifts for pollinators. We also recognized some old tactics from the industry playbook — and boldly called them out.