September 30, 2020

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Newsom signs bill banning strong rodenticides
To the applause of wildlife groups, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1788 yesterday. The bill bans second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides statewide.
The author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, amended the bill twice to broadly exempt agricultural operations, dropping most of the industry’s opposition. The ban is in effect until the Department of Pesticide Regulation completes its risk assessment on the rodenticides and enacts new mitigation measures.
“My father was a naturalist and a strong advocate for the preservation of mountain lions,” said Newsom. “He would be proud to know that California is taking action to protect mountain lion populations.”
Bloom called the bill a commonsense measure to curb use of the chemicals.
Pamela Flick, the California program director for Defenders of Wildlife, said: “AB 1788 will protect our communities and imperiled wildlife.”

Newsom also approved a bill on chlorpyrifos. SB 86 requires DPR to submit quarterly reports detailing the use of the granular form of the insecticide, which Newsom acknowledged in his signing message will be "extremely limited."

Newsom also responded to criticism of the bill from ag groups arguing that SB 86 would add more costs for DPR and take resources away from its other regulatory duties. "Additional funding may be needed to support this reporting without reducing resources to monitor, test and regulation (sic) of more widely-used pesticides," he writes. He did not specific if the funding would come from the Legislature or from increasing the mill tax on pesticides.

AB 1788 follows high-profile deaths linked to the pesticides of several Southern California mountain lions.

CDFA activates more fairgrounds for fire evacuations
As new wildfires ignited and others grew even larger this week, CDFA activated more fairgrounds to act as animal shelters, evacuation centers and fire camps.
Fairgrounds in Petaluma and Gridley are responding to the Glass and North Complex Fires. CDFA is following emergency protocols that engage emergency services, local animal control agencies and volunteer organizations on the ground to provide assistance.
Across California, 17 of the state’s 77 fairgrounds are now handling more than 300 animals—from dogs to llamas to goats, pigs, a bull and koi.
Remember: This comes as the fairs are asking Congress for emergency funding to keep them going following sweeping pandemic-related losses this year.
Citrus Stride goes virtual
California Citrus Mutual (CCM) will hold its annual Citrus Stride online this year due to the pandemic.
“Move one mile anywhere, anytime between October 5-11 and the citrus industry will donate 1,000 pounds to California community food banks,” according to CCM.
Typically, legislators and staff from regulatory agencies and the governor’s office participate in a one-mile stride around the Capitol and surrounding park. The event builds new relationships and, for some lawmakers, a new connection to agriculture.
Each mile logged adds another 1,000 pounds of citrus for the California Association of Food Banks. The goal this year is to reach 500,000 pounds of donated citrus.

Trump attacks on China; Biden targets Brazil on climate
The first of three presidential debates is over and it was a brawl. President Donald Trump briefly touched on trade policy, accusing Biden of being weak on China. “China ate your lunch, Joe,” Trump charged at one point.
But some of the longest discussion without the candidates interrupting each other was on climate change. Moderator Chris Wallace brought up the California wildfires and pressed Trump to say whether the climate was changing because of human activity. Trump acknowledged that it played a small part, but pressed his case that California poorly managed its forests, despite most of those forests being on federal land.
Trump tried to tie Biden to the Green New Deal, which was proposed by some progressives in Congress in early 2019. The president said at one point that the GND would “take out the cows,” a reference to an early GND fact sheet that addressed emissions from animal agriculture.
“No, I don’t support the Green New Deal,” Biden responded. He insisted that his more modest, $2 trillion climate plan would “create millions of good-paying jobs” and not harm the economy.
Take note: Biden called for offering Brazil $20 billion to stop the destruction of the Amazon rain forests. If Brazil refuses to do so, it should be punished economically, he said.
CR set to clear Congress; Pelosi, Mnuchin talking
Today’s the federal government’s New Year’s Eve - as in the last day of the federal fiscal year - and that means it’s a crucial day for Congress.
The Senate today must clear a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until Dec. 11, and replenish USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. account. The stopgap spending bill should pass easily; the Senate voted 82-6 to advance the measure Tuesday.
It’s also make-or-break time for negotiations on a new coronavirus relief package, with some major airlines threatening to lay off thousands of employees if they don’t get an extension on aid that runs out today.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will be talking to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin again today after talking him for about 50 minutes Tuesday morning.
Caption: Sen. John Thune and Amy Coney Barrett meet
Grassley confirms bill to extend tariff exemptions
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is proposing to extend for 15 months a U.S. program that exempts developing nations from some tariffs in order to bolster their economies.
The program - the Generalized System of Preferences. Or GSP – is in danger of expiring and that is causing uncertainty for U.S. businesses that rely on the imports.
Separately, the U.S. International Trade Commission released a report this week, proposing that several types of rice be removed from the GSP program because of the impact on domestic producers. The proposal follows rising concern among U.S. lawmakers and farmers that the GSP exemptions are benefitting farmers in countries like Brazil, Argentina and Pakistan at the cost of U.S. producers.
He said it:
“The conservation experts at California’s Resource Conservation Districts stand ready to roll up their sleeves.” — Ken Hale, a retired Cal Fire battalion chief, in an op-ed for CalMatters saluting the districts' restoration work that has helped to prevent further fires

Bill Tomson, Ben Nuelle and Steve Davies contributed to this report.

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