TH: [Long Post] Efforts in PNW (Wash) to silence organic alternatives

 Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 21:00:15 -0800
 From: K.McLaughlin <kevin@evergreen.ca>

>From: Allyn Weaks <allyn@u.washington.edu>
>To: Multiple recipients of <pnw-natives@cornetto.chem.washington.edu>
>Subject:  WA State proposed gag law
>There is a State House Bill hearing this evening (wednesday, Feb 26)
>in Olympia about a proposed gag law to prevent government agencies at all
>levels from telling people about many alternatives to commercial toxic
>products, and perhaps the advantages of planting native plants as well.
>Note that many UW and other state university employees are state government
>employees, so this could gag faculty, too; it would certainly gag the
>helpful folks at King County Surface Water Management and cooperative
>extension.  People in other states may want to keep an eye on this too, in
>case they try it out on you next.
>Forwarded from the Tweeters mailing list:
>From: "Michael Seamans (Write Stuff)" <a-mikese@microsoft.com>
>Recalling the recent thread on safe rat poison, Tweeters may be
>interested in Washington State House Bill 1602, scheduled for a hearing
>this Wednesday (Feb. 26) at 6 PM in the Labor and Commerce Committee
>(John O'Brien office bldg, Olympia).
>> This bill, pushed by the Chemical Specialties Manufacturing
>> Association, would effectively prohibit state and local government
>> agencies from giving out information on consumer product substitutes
>> or household hazardous wastes. It would specifically bar
>> recommendations about using anything as a pesticide unless the product
>> was registered with EPA as a pesticide -- thus, non-chemical pest
>> controls or soaps, etc.
>> In other words, no government agency in Washington would be able to
>> provide information about environmentally-friendly cleaning products,
>> integrated pest management, using latex rather than oil paint, etc.
>> For example, when Seattle residents bring in cans of paint,
>> pesticides, etc, to the Household Hazardous Waste unit of the Solid
>> Waste department for disposal, the folks working there would not be
>> able to suggest alternatives for future use unless they were
>> registered with the EPA.  If there are safer alternatives to rat
>> poison, no one in government would be able to tell you about them.
>> (Just think if the US government were prohibited from talking about
>> the dangers of cigarettes.)
>> There was a short hearing already, at which Seattle, King County, the
>> American Lung Association, the Washington Toxics Coalition, and the
>> Tilth Society among others opposed the bill.  The Chlorox Co. and
>> Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Assn. favored it.
>> You can get bill text and legislator info at
>> http://www.leginfo.leg.wa.gov.  (This site was not working for me this
>> morning, but hopefully it will come back up.)  You may want to go to
>> the hearing, write a letter, or contact your legislator or committee
>> members --- most of the bill's sponsors and the committee members are
>> from central and eastern Washington (three are from the Yakima
>> Valley). You can write the Committee Chair, Cathy McMorris
>> (R-Colville) at P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504-0600. Other committee
>> members: Honeyford (R-Sunnyside), Conway (D-Tacoma), Wood (D-Spokane),
>> Boldt (R-Vancouver), Clements (R-Yakima/Selah), Cole (D-Shoreline),
>> Hatfield(D-Raymond), Lisk (R-Zillah).  Bill sponsors are Schoesler
>> (Adams, Whtman county), Huff (Kitsap, Pierce county), Chandler
>> (Kittitas), and committee members Lisk, Clements, and Honeyford.
>> Thanks,
>> Mike Seamans
>> Seattle
>Note: the above address should be http://www.leg.wa.gov/.  Full text of the
>new section
>H-1115.1           _______________________________________________
>                                   HOUSE BILL 1602
>                   _______________________________________________
>State of Washington               55th Legislature             1997 Regular
>By Representatives Schoesler, Huff, Lisk, Chandler, Clements and
>Read first time 02/03/97.  Referred to Committee on Commerce & Labor.
>     AN ACT Relating to information on household hazardous waste or
>consumer product substitutes; and adding a new section to chapter 49.70
>     {+ NEW SECTION. +}  Sec. 1.  A new section is added to chapter
>49.70 RCW to read as follows:
>     (1) Notwithstanding any contrary provision in law, no state,
>county, or local agency shall provide information on household
>hazardous waste or substitutes for any consumer products unless the
>information is competent and reliable.
>     (2) For purposes of this section, "competent and reliable
>information" means information based on a test, analysis, research,
>study, or other evidence that yields accurate and reliable results.
>     (3) Information that recommends the use of any consumer product
>substitute deemed by the state to have the potential to be accidentally
>ingested or to pose other hazards to human health or safety is not
>competent and reliable.
>     (4) No recommendation shall be rendered by any state, county, or
>local agency for the use of any substance for pesticidal purposes
>unless the substance is registered for use as a pesticide by the state
>and by the federal environmental protection agency and is to be used in
>a manner consistent with label directions.
>                                     --- END ---
>As I read it (though what I know about legalese fits on the point of a
>pin), the section (2) definition of 'competent and reliable' is really no
>better defined than the phrase 'competent and reliable' in the first place,
>and section (3) and (4) would definately exclude recommendations of a mild
>detergent solution, or even a strong jet of water, as a replacement for far
>more toxic, but commercial and labeled, pesticides.  Not to mention that
>evil and hazardous child killer, boiling water to kill sidewalk weeds...
>So sharpen up those goosequills...oops, I forgot, there's probably no
>'accurate and reliable' research that shows you can use a goose feather to
>write letters!
>Allyn Weaks
>PNW Native Wildlife Gardening: http://chemwww.chem.washington.edu/natives/