Marin Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen has just played Judas in his county by negotiating a contract with the state that will give him nearly $150,000 for continuing to foist the ludicrous light brown apple moth (LBAM) eradication program on the community he is supposed to serve. If you live in Marin, you’ve already seen the toxic, white, triangular traps hanging from trees everywhere, from neighborhoods to precious wild lands, endangering coastal waters, animals, birds and insects. Be on the lookout for the toxic twist ties that will now follow, thanks to Carlsen’s egregiously bad plan.
Carlsen gets a fat $10,000 bonus for himself (a sum vaguely described as his reward for ‘spearheading’ the program) and the rest of the money will be used for twist ties and inspections. All for nothing! The light brown apple moth fiasco continues to be one of the phoniest, most underhanded and dangerous grabs for state and federal funding anyone has ever attempted to pull off in California, and newspapers like the Point Reyes Light continue to make matters worse by re-printing the misleading speil of the California Department of Agriculture regarding the toxicity of the chemicals contained in their twist ties and traps.
This recent article by Kyle Cashulin is a perfect example of how easy it is for state ag officials to get non-diligent reporters to use their chosen marketing language for describing what is, in fact, a dangerous substance. Calling pheromone-pesticides ‘perfumes’ does not magically turn them into Old Spice cologne, but if people choose not to think too deeply about what they are reading, words like these do a truly magical job of creating apathy and ignorance. When West Marin’s primary newspaper can’t do better than this, I’d say this special county, with its high proportion of environmentally-minded residents, is in trouble.
For actual facts about the contents of the toxic twist ties, please refer to this article which describes the danger these chemicals pose to people, animals and the water supply. Considering the fact that no one can swim at Samuel P. Taylor park any more because of the poisonous water and that the coho salmon are barely managing to hang on throughout their historic waterway through the San Geronimo Valley out to sea, West Marin citizens have every reason to refuse to allow Stacy Carlsen to further pollute local water by introducing chemicals into the area which are specifically prohibited from being used near water. West Marin has water everywhere, from roadside ditches to creeks, rivers and the Nicassio Reservoir. Then there is Tomales Bay, and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. Rain on the twist ties will cause the chemicals to get into the water (against the law) and these chemicals will cause harm…all for a tiny moth that has never done any damage to anything in California despite decades of existence here.
So far, the LBAM program has been cited as:
-Sickenening hundreds of Central Coast families and putting children in the hospital
-Killing thousands of sea birds including the federally protected endangered Brown Pelican
-Killing domestic animals, pets and honey bees
-being illegally conducted, as was ruled by two courts in California
-Using pesticides that were subsequently banned by the EPA after being sprayed on human beings
-Causing incalculable amounts of stress to California citizens
-Turning formerly pro-government citizens against government agencies
-Draining California’s drastically troubled budget
But Ag Commissioner Carlsen wants to continue this scandalous charade in West Marin, with big money for him and his department and a further dose of toxins for a community which is still reeling from the news that the county ag commissioners have violated Marin’s own pesticide use laws 90 times in the past decade. East Marin suffers from one of the highest cancer rates in the world. West Marin struggles to build a name for itself as a GMO-free, organic farming community. Add all these things up and I think Carlsen’s deal with the government can easily be viewed in the light of betrayal in which the critically ill people of the east county and the valiantly environmental people of the west county will be needlessly exposed to further doses of toxins and ‘secret’ ingredients, unless this greedy, bad, unwanted plan is stopped. Please, if you live in Marin, tune into this issue to find out about what community efforts will be made to stop Carlsen’s plan. Your health, and the health of beautiful Marin County, is riding on it.