Posts Tagged: Dept. of Agriculture

Forest Service says local is better for flora & fauna

Environmentalists are concerned that a new U.S. Forest Service proposal that moves decision-making about forest and wetlands maintenance to local officials of the service would mean a rollback of conservation standards, according to reporting by Darryl Fears in the Washington Post.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the reforms would acknowledge the differences between forests in America’s diverse climates and landscapes, but some experts say it leaves too much discretion to local officials.

But in cases where a Washington agency wants to give up some control — and offer responsibility to its local representatives — isn’t it good for democracy, and not necessarily a threat to forests?  It might cause some problems, but it might also empower local activists and concerned citizens.  And the debate would not have to go through the Washington bottleneck.

Silent Strawberries?

The federal EPA is awaiting a determination from state regulators in California regarding a deadly chemical proposed for use in strawberry fields.

The chemical, methyl iodide, is being promoted as a replacement for methyl bromide. A rat and insect killer injected to sterilize the soil, methyl bromide is being phased out after it was found to harm the ozone layer – and farm workers.

Officials at California’s Dept. of Pesticides Regulation maintain the chemical won’t linger (more…)

Orange County goes from Marine to green

The last orange grove is long gone from the eponymous Southern California county, but the region’s crippled economy is helping put some highly productive land back into agricultural production. Officials in Orange County, the Republican bastion separating Los Angeles from San Diego, just signed a lease deal reverting 114 acres of the former (more…)