Connolly Joins Pesticide-Free Advocates to Champion the Passage of AB 99
Assembly Bill (AB) 99 restricts the use of pesticide spraying by CalTrans
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblymember Connolly was joined by a number of pesticide-free advocates and integrated pest management specialists at a press conference to discuss the statewide importance of Assembly Bill (AB) 99, which would require the California Department of Transportation to develop and adopt a statewide policy that uses integrated pest management that does not include the use of pesticides except in specified circumstances in cities and counties that have restricted their use of pesticides locally. AB 99 also requires Caltrans to make publicly available their pesticide use as well as notification of when they intend to spray pesticides 24 hours in advance.
“The dangers and health risks caused by pesticides and synthetic herbicides like Roundup are undeniable,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “Even though North Bay communities like Marin and Sonoma have taken bold steps to protect our sensitive ecosystems along highways, toxic chemicals are still being sprayed in our backyards. AB 99 will prohibit these dangerous chemicals from being deployed along highways in counties that adopt restrictions on their usage - ensuring that the local environmental protections that our communities have fought for stand strong.”
At the press conference, Assemblymember Connolly was joined by Rika Gopinath, Chair of YardSmartMarin, an organization empowering people to reduce/eliminate pesticide use through awareness and education about safer, effective alternatives and a member of the Marin County Integrated Pest Management Commission, Kat Knecht, Senior Program Coordinator of the Marin County Parks Integrative Pest Management Program, Sarah Keiser, Chief Executive Officer of Wild Oat Hollow, a regenerative family farm in Sonoma County and Director of the local Community Grazing Cooperatives, and Megan Kaun, Director of Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools.
Pesticides, while designed to control pest, often contain toxic chemicals that can pose serious health risks to humans and detrimental impacts to our environment. Whether through direct or indirect contact, pesticide exposure is linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney and liver damage, birth defects, and developmental changes in a wide range of species. Additionally, they can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants. According to a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, More than 80 percent of U.S. children and adults likely have the chemical glyphosate in their bodies. Presently, RoundUp is the primary tool used by Caltrans for killing brush along Sonoma County’s State Highways. AB 99 would put a stop to the routine spraying of pesticides at Caltrans.
AB 99 has successfully passed through the State Assembly and is now awaiting a policy hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.