Budget Battle Poisons Pesticide Rules

JUNE 22, 2011


Politicized environmental regulation is becoming a protection racket to collect votes.

To pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, farmers along the Central Coast of California are having overkill pesticide runoff regulations imposed on them to brazenly extort votes from local Republican state Sens. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, and Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres.

That agricultural pesticide runoff regulation is being used as a way to shake down opposing party politicians is not speculation or a conspiracy theory. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported, “Jim Metropulos, a senior advocate with the Sierra Club, said it wouldn’t be the first time environmental rules got caught up in budget deals.”

Metropulos himself said, “It gets leveraged in back-room dealings to try to pick off a Republican vote. This issue dealing with agricultural runoff in the Central Coast is not something that should rise to the level of budget negotiations.”

Farmer Dick Peixoto said that new pesticide runoff regulations are “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen in my life” and “would destroy farming in California.” When something is said to be bizarre, there typically is some government hidden agenda operating. And environmental regulations are typically the method of choice for accomplishing such undisclosed schemes in California.

What Peixoto is referring to is the proposed new rule for “zero” agricultural runoff. It would entail astronomically costly measures such as lining irrigation water detention ponds, imposing caps on fertilizer use and farmers legally having to keep records of pesticide use and runoff so that they can be sued or criminalized for noncompliance. Peixoto says such overkill measures are ignorant of farming and how subsurface water migrates and “would hold us to a standard that’s impossible to maintain.”

Nitrate Scare

At issue to environmentalists are nitrates in produce and drinking water that purportedly lead to “nervous ailments and Blue Baby Syndrome,” which is a virtually nonexistent disorder in the U.S. since the 1940s.

Nitrate is a form of nitrogen, an essential ingredient of life, particularly plants and crops. The formation of nitrates is not artificial or synthetic, but is part of the natural nitrogen cycle. As with nearly every substance, moderate levels of nitrate are harmless in food and water. Healthy adults can eat or drink large levels of nitrate with no known deleterious health effects.

Nitrates are a vasodilator used to treat angina, chest pain and symptoms of congestive heart failure.

One of the most nitrate rich foods is spinach. Neither the environmentalists interviewed, nor the news reporter, indicated that nitrates are what produce cellular energy in the human body and lower blood pressure, as reported by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This is the source of the notion, popularized by the cartoon character Popeye, that children should eat spinach to make them strong.

Attacking nitrates are just another environmental scare tactic to shake down a “mark” — a victim.

This says nothing about the slippery slope that regulating nitrates and fertilizers would lead to.  Once farmers are over-regulated for fertilizer use, there will be no stopping urban residential users from such controls and shakedowns too.  This will extend to use of fertilizers on home lawns and gardens. Regulating agricultural nitrates will lead to endless Soviet-style bureaucracies.

Where Are the Checks and Balances?

How can mostly outgunned farmers overcome contrived environmental pollution science and regulations about nitrates that are devised by politically appointed bodies, supported by University of California system academics, enforced by state agencies and adjudicated by California courts that are all dependent on the state budget for their livelihoods?  When every bureaucratic entity in the organizational food chain is dependent on approval of a shamelessly self-serving state budget, where are the checks and balances of a democracy?  Where is the rule of law to protect the confiscation of property with just compensation?

In California, such a system is a rigged game just as much as a protection racket.

In postmodern California, farmers must vet their farm practices through water quality control boards that are just another racket. Environmental regulation has become nothing but a legally sanctioned racket to shake down businesses, industries and Republican politicians for politicized purposes, including votes for the state budget.

The only thing that makes us think that it is not a racket is the media and the prevailing environmental ideology propagated by every educational and government entity in the state, as well as Hollywood, that obscures our social perception of what is going on.




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