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Oregonians for Food and Shelter 1/26/11

* DEQ Proposes Revisions for Water Quality Standards to Help Reduce Toxic Pollutants in State’s Waterways; Comment deadline has been extended to Wednesday, February 23rd

* ODA offers three new publications

* Enviro's file another suit - this one effects the entire nation, not just the Northwest.

* Timber group sues FWS over 'secret meetings' on spotted owl

Oregon's legislators come back to Salem next week.  Terry and Paulette have gone through the 1600 + bills that were introduced when they were here earlier this month.  Needless-to-say, there are some doozies - but we'll save that for next week's news!

Today we need to share the following news items with you:

  1. DEQ is proposing revisions to Oregon's water quality standards which will affect our agricultural and forestry members.  Please make an effort to attend a hearing in your area and/or submit comments before the February 23rd deadline.  It is IMPERITIVE that you make attempt to be there or send written comments.
  2. New publications available from Oregon Department of Agriculture
  3. The environmentalists have filed another lawsuit.  This complaint alleges EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult on potential effects of hundreds of pesticides on 214 species throughout the country - not just the Pacific NW, THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!
  4. The American Forest Resource Council, et al filed a suit against the Fish & Wildlife Service regarding meetings to discuss the proposed recovery plan for the northern spotted owl.  The suit claims FWS violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which sets certain requirements that federal advisory committees work in public.

Have a terrifc week.

Sandi, Paulette and Terry

DEQ Proposes Revisions for Water Quality Standards to Help Reduce Toxic Pollutants in State’s Waterways 

Comment deadline has been extended to Wednesday, February 23rd

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing revisions to the state’s water quality standards used to regulate levels of toxic pollutants in Oregon waterways. The revisions ensure greater health protection for Oregonians who eat fish from state waters and cleaner waterways for providing drinking water to Oregonians.

The revised rules will affect cities and facilities that discharge one or more regulated pollutants to state waters. These pollutants may include methylmercury (a byproduct from the burning of fossil fuels) and bis (2-ethylexyl) phthalate, a plasticizer. Forestry, agricultural, construction and other activities could also be affected by these rules, if they release toxic pollutants such as the pesticide compound endosulfan, PCBs and the now-banned but persistent toxic pesticides DDT and aldrin into lakes, rivers and streams.

“These proposed revisions are necessary to protect human health,” said DEQ Director Dick Pedersen. “Toxic pollutants can accumulate in fish that people may eat. Some of these substances may lead to cancer, hinder human development and cause other health problems. These pollutants can also affect the quality of water that communities rely on for drinking water. Reducing the level of these toxics in our water makes for healthier, more livable communities and, as a result, a healthier economy. It is important that any water quality rules are implementable, and we believe through working with a broad group of stakeholders we have a proposed rule package that achieves that end.”

Several documents about this rulemaking proposal are available for public comment and may be accessed through DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/standards/toxics.htm (scroll down to “toxics rulemaking”). The public may comment on the proposed rule changes and toxic pollutant levels, a proposed statement of need and fiscal impact, a land use evaluation statement and a document about the proposed rules’ relationship to federal requirements.

All comments on the proposed rulemaking must be submitted to the agency by 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, 2011. Comments may be e-mailed, mailed or faxed to DEQ. Send e-mail comments to ToxicsRuleMaking@deq.state.or.us. Mail comments to Andrea Matzke, Oregon DEQ, Water Quality Division, 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204. Fax comments to Andrea Matzke at 503-229-6037.

Public hearings scheduled Feb. 1-16 throughout state

DEQ will hold eight public hearings throughout Oregon to explain the proposed revisions and how they may affect cities, industrial facilities and other entities. The public may submit both oral and written comments about the revisions during the hearing. DEQ will record and review all comments.

Hearings are scheduled for the following locations. An overview of the rulemaking proposal precedes the formal hearing:

·         Bend, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m., Oregon Department of Transportation Office, 63055 N. Highway 97, Deschutes River Room.

·         Eugene, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 9 a.m., DEQ Eugene office, 165 E. Seventh Ave., Suite 100, Willamette Conference Room.

·         Medford, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m., DEQ Medford office, 221 Stewart Ave., Suite 201, Large Conference Room.

·         Coos Bay, Thursday, Feb. 3, 1:30 p.m., Coos Bay City Hall, 500 Central Ave., Council Chambers.

·         Ontario, Monday, Feb. 7, 2:30 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time), Ontario City Hall, 444 SW Fourth St., 2ndfloor, Council Chambers.

·         Pendleton, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2 p.m., St. Anthony’s Hospital, Cascade Room (first floor), 1601 SE Court Ave., 1stfloor, Cascade Room.

·         Portland, Thursday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m., DEQ Headquarters, 811 SW Sixth Ave. (SW Sixth and Yamhill), 10thfloor, Room EQC-A.

·         Portland, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 1:30 p.m., DEQ Headquarters, 811 SW Sixth Ave. (SW Sixth and Yamhill), 10thfloor, Room EQC-A. (This hearing is part of the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) meeting).

DEQ will respond to all comments submitted during the comment period and may modify the proposed rules based on comments received. DEQ will recommend that the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission adopt the rules at the commission’s June 2011 meeting, at a location yet to be determined. DEQ will notify all those submitting comments as well as those who request to be on DEQ’s mailing list for the rulemaking of the time and place for final commission action.

How DEQ developed the proposed changes

DEQ developed this proposal with input from advisory groups about the rulemaking’s human health considerations, how the new standards could be implemented and enforced, and fiscal impact on dischargers. A group of public health specialists and toxicologists helped DEQ develop a recommended fish consumption rate of 175 grams a day – equivalent to about 23 fish or shellfish meals a month. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission agreed with this recommendation and directed DEQ to use this rate as a basis for revising human health criteria.

In June 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected DEQ’s human health criteria submitted in 2004 based on a 17.5 g/day rate as not being protective enough for all Oregonians. As a result of EPA’s rejection of that proposal, DEQ’s human health criteria reverted back to values which are largely based on a fish consumption rate of 6.5 g/day.

DEQ also identified possible financial impacts this rulemaking could have on regulated entities and land-use practices. It consulted two groups of affected stakeholders, one of which included two economists, to provide input on DEQ’s cost analysis of the proposal. In cases where it may be difficult for cities and businesses to reduce toxic pollutant levels to meet the new standards, DEQ will offer variances and other options to help foster compliance and pollution reduction.

Note from OFS

The comment period ends at 5:00 p.m. on February 23, 2011.  DEQ will hold eight public hearings throughout Oregon to explain the proposed revisions and how they may affect cities, industrial facilities and other entities. The public may submit both oral and written comments about the revisions during the hearings. DEQ will record and review all comments.

Anyone interested in making public comments on the DEQ Toxic Rulemaking package are encouraged to participate in a conference call this Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 10am.  The Oregon Farm Bureau is sponsoring the conference call.  DEQ proposes, through this rulemaking, to revise the water quality standards regulation to address the human health criteria for toxic pollutants. The proposed rules attempt to establish "Implementation-Ready" TMDLs which will require surrogate measures and best management practices of farmers and ranchers across the state. DEQ is seeking to have direct enforcement against landowners if they believe ODA is not enforcing these measures.

Please participate in the call if you are interested in attending a public hearing or submitting written comments. Please contact Jennifer Shmikler at 503-399-1701 or at Jennifer@oregonfb.org

WHO: Oregon Farm Bureau, Regulatory/Legal Team hosting a conference call on the DEQ Toxics Rulemaking package

WHEN: Thursday, January 27, 2011

TIME: 10:00 a.m.

CALL-IN INFO: 888-537-7715, Passcode 3526526

Please contact Jennifer prior to the conference call, as she has materials she will email you.


ODA offers three new publications

 Three new publications are now available from the Oregon Department of Agriculture providing updated information on the agriculture industry and ODA itself. The publications include print and online versions of the Oregon Agripedia, the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Biennial Report, and an industry report from the State Board of Agriculture.

The fourth edition of the Oregon Agripedia– a popular, all-purpose guide providing comprehensive statistical, regulatory, and contact information– is organized in three sections. The first section contains the latest statistical information on Oregon agriculture along with historical facts and figures. The second section contains the most comprehensive information available on state and federal laws that apply to agriculture. The third section contains contact information for numerous agricultural organizations and agencies.

A limited number of copies of this handy guide are now available at no cost. The Oregon Agripedia is available online at http://oregon.gov/ODA/pub_agripedia.shtml

The Oregon Department of Agriculture 2009-2011 Biennial Report provides a summary of ODA’s programs, responsibilities, accomplishments, and goals for the next biennium. The publication is available at no charge. The ODA Biennial Report is available online at http://oregon.gov/ODA/pub_br.shtml

The State of Oregon Agriculture is an industry report produced every two years by the State Board of Agriculture, and provides an in-depth look at key issues facing the industry along with policy recommendations for the governor and legislature. The industry report is available at no charge and can also be found online at http://oregon.gov/ODA/pub_bd_rpt.shtml

These new ODA publications can be obtained by calling (503) 986-4550, by e-mailing info@oda.state.or.us, or by completing the online order form at http://oregon.gov/ODA/docs/pdf/pubs_form.pdf

Enviro's file another suit - this one effects the entire nation, not just the Northwest.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) filed their threatened national lawsuit last week in the Northern District of California. The complaint alleges EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult on potential effects of hundreds of pesticides on 214 species throughout the country. (The notice of intent to sue was filed last year.) The complaint seeks:

1. Order declaring EPA violated ESA Section 7(a)(2)

2. Order compelling EPA to initiate and complete consultations.

3. Order enjoining EPA allowing pesticide uses that may result in pesticides entering occupied habitat or designated critical habitat of those species until the consultation process has been completed.

Their press release is below.

Landmark Lawsuit Filed to Protect Hundreds of Rare Species From Pesticides

Suit Targets EPA's Failure to Safeguard Species Around the
Country in Its Oversight of More Than 300 Pesticides

SAN FRANCISCOThe Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America today filed the most comprehensive legal action ever brought under the Endangered Species Act to protect imperiled species from pesticides, suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to consult with federal wildlife agencies regarding the impacts of hundreds of pesticides known to be harmful to more than 200 endangered and threatened species.

“For decades, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the disastrous effects pesticides can have on some of America’s rarest species,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “This lawsuit is intended to force the EPA to follow the law and ensure that harmful chemicals are not sprayed in endangered species habitats.”

“Endangered species and biological diversity are strong indicators for the health of the natural-resource base on which we all depend. To the extent that we fail to protect that base we erode the possibility of prosperity for future generations,” said Dr. Heather Pilatic, codirector of PAN. “This suit thus presents a real opportunity for American agriculture: By enforcing the law and counting the real costs of pesticide use, we strengthen the case for supporting a transition toward more sustainable pest-control practices like crop rotations and beneficial insect release.”

The lawsuit seeks protection for 214 endangered and threatened species throughout the United States, including the Florida panther, California condor, piping plover, black-footed ferret, arroyo toad, Indiana bat, bonytail chub and Alabama sturgeon. Documents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA, as well as peer-reviewed scientific studies, indicate these species are harmed by the pesticides at issue. More than a billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the United States, and the EPA has registered more than 18,000 different pesticides for use. Extensive scientific studies show widespread and pervasive pesticide contamination in groundwater, drinking water and wildlife habitats throughout the country.

Many EPA-approved pesticides are also linked to cancer and other severe health effects in humans. Some pesticides can act as endocrine disruptors, interfering with natural hormones, damaging reproductive function and offspring, and causing developmental, neurological and immune problems in wildlife and humans. Endocrine-disrupting pesticides cause sexual deformities such as intersex fish (with male and female parts) that cannot reproduce. Scientists believe that pesticides may also play a role in the recent colony collapse disorder, the disappearance of bees that are agriculturally important pollinators.

“The EPA authorizes pesticide uses that result in millions of pounds of toxins, including carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, entering our waterways each year, polluting our soil and poisoning our drinking water,” said Miller. “Common-sense restrictions on pesticide use that protect endangered species can also safeguard human health.”

View an interactive map of the species involved in the lawsuit, find out more about the Center’s Pesticides Reduction campaign, and read Pesticide Action Network information on the environmental impacts of persistent poisons.

Pesticides are a significant threat to endangered species and biological diversity. We are now experiencing the worst wave of extinction of plants and animals since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 millions years ago, with species going extinct at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate. The diversity of life that sustains ecological systems and human cultures around the world is collapsing. Beyond its intrinsic value, biodiversity, or ecosystem diversity and integrity, is necessary to human survival: It provides life support, including a livable climate, breathable air and drinkable water. Plant and animal diversity are building blocks for medicine and food-crop diversity, and pollinating insects and bats allow agriculture to support our populations and prevent food collapse from crop diseases.

Through pesticide drift and runoff, pesticides can travel far from the areas where they are applied and into sensitive wildlife habitats. Some contaminated waterways are regularly subjected to toxic pulses of combinations of pesticides deadly to fish and other life. Some of the pesticides in the lawsuit contribute to the loss of native fish populations, are a leading cause of the decline in native amphibians, and can result in significant bird kills. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 72 million birds are killed by pesticides in the United States each year.

The EPA is required by the Endangered Species Act to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service regarding pesticides that may jeopardize listed species or harm their critical habitat. Formal consultations are intended to ensure that the EPA avoids pesticide uses that harm endangered species. After consultation, the federal wildlife agency issues a biological opinion that may specify reasonable and prudent restrictions and alternatives to avoid harm to species. Yet for decades the EPA has consistently failed to engage in required consultations to properly evaluate whether pesticides it registers are harmful to imperiled species. In 2004 the Center published Silent Spring Revisited: Pesticide Use and Endangered Species, detailing the EPA’s dismal record in protecting endangered species from pesticides.

An example of the EPA failure to protect people and the environment is the re-registration of the dangerous herbicide atrazine, a widespread pollutant of groundwater and drinking water in this country. Atrazine, which causes reproductive problems and chemically castrates male frogs at extremely low concentrations, has been banned in the European Union. Recent research links atrazine to cancer, birth defects and endocrine disruption in humans, as well as significant harm to wildlife.

A series of lawsuits by the Center and other conservation groups have forced the EPA to consult on the impacts of scores of pesticides on some endangered species, primarily in California, and resulted in temporary restrictions on pesticide use in sensitive habitats. In 2006 the EPA agreed to restrictions on 66 pesticides throughout California and began analyzing their effects on the threatened California red-legged frog. A 2010 settlement agreement requires evaluation of the effects of 75 pesticides on 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species. For all of these court-ordered evaluations, the EPA has concurred that nearly every pesticide at issue is “likely to adversely affect” the at-risk species identified by the Center. Today’s litigation is the first on this scale, as it seeks nationwide compliance for hundreds of pesticides on hundreds of species.

Pesticide Action Network campaigns and action network linking local and international consumer, labor, health, environmental and agriculture groups have resulted in bans on some of the most deadly pesticides and protections from toxic exposure for communities and farmworkers.

Timber group sues FWS over 'secret meetings' on spotted owl

Lawrence Hurley, E&E reporter

A timber trade group yesterday filed a lawsuit claiming the Fish and Wildlife Service has held unlawful secret meetings to discuss the proposed recovery plan for the northern spotted owl.

The American Forest Resource Council, joined by the Carpenters Industrial Council, wants greater participation in the debate because the resulting decision on designating a critical habitat for the owl under the Endangered Species Act will affect its members, which are predominantly lumber companies.

The owl is found in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

FWS is currently revisiting a 2008 recovery plan proposed by the George W. Bush administration that was successfully challenged by environmentalists and withdrawn by the Obama administration on Sept. 7, 2010.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims FWS violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which sets certain requirements that federal advisory committees work in public.

Tom Partin, the timber group's president, said in an interview that the industry has been "shut out of the process," in sharp contrast to the way the George W. Bush administration had handled the issue.

Partin's main concern is the lack of access to work being conducted by scientists who are evaluating different modeling plans that would be used to determine the critical habitat.

What the modeling team is doing "has a direct impact" on the process," he added.

FWS disagrees. In a letter sent last month, Paul Henson, the service's state supervisor for Oregon, said the work being conducted by the modeling group is exempt from Federal Advisory Committee Act requirements.

He noted that the team "will not participate in the development of a revised northern spotted owl critical habitat designation."

It is merely testing "the effectiveness of various land management scenarios and these results will be contained in the final recovery plan," he added.

Henson also pointed out that the leader of the team has met with Partin's group and other representatives of the timber industry.

The proposed plan will be published for public comment in November, Henson said.

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