Attorney General Bonta: Biden Administration Right to Protect Farm Workers from Harmful Pesticides | California – DOJ

Sacramento – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined several state comment letters in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest efforts to protect farm workers and their neighbors from exposure to harmful pesticides. . In their comments, the Attorneys General stressed that the EPA’s proposed new rule, which reverses the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine worker protections, would help meet the EPA’s obligations to protect human health and the environment. are doing.

“As the son of parents who fought tirelessly for the rights of farm workers and vulnerable people, I have no doubt that the EPA is doing the right thing.” said Attorney General Bonta.. “Exposure to pesticides is known to lead to injury, illness and lost wages. must continue to be strengthened.”

In 2015, the Obama administration’s EPA enacted regulations to protect the health of farm workers by, among other things, creating “application exemption zones” or “AEZs.” The AEZ allowed pesticide application by trained and equipped handlers only if no farm workers, bystanders or other persons were within her AEZ. AEZ radii ranged from 25 feet to 100 feet depending on application method and spray quality (droplet size). If anyone was found to be inside the AEZ, pesticide spraying had to stop immediately, even if the AEZ crossed the boundaries of the agricultural employer’s property.

But the Trump administration’s EPA sought to weaken federal AEZ provisions in 2020 in several key ways. Establish a 25-foot radius AEZ for all ground applications regardless of droplet size. Permits persons not employed by the agricultural facility, such as utility workers, to apply and resume pesticide applications while present on an easement within the boundaries of the facility. and restrict the AEZ to the boundary of the agricultural facility.

Two lawsuits were filed in response. One was by a coalition of state attorneys general, including California, and the other by a non-profit organization. Because of these lawsuits, the Trump administration’s weakening of worker protections has not been enforced. On March 13, 2023, the Biden administration’s EPA formally reversed the changes advanced by the Trump administration and proposed rules to restore the Obama administration’s protections. Today’s comment letter supports the new rules.

In submitting the comment letter, Attorney General Bonta will join Attorneys General from New York, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

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