During a Senate budget subcommittee hearing Tuesday, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) got pushback for asking for more funding to regulate pesticide emissions through the AB 617 program at the Air Resources Board (CARB).

“You guys are asking for a big chunk of money for community engagement and air monitoring,” Committee Chair Bob Wieckowski of Fremont told administration officials.

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DPR Assistant Director Karen Morrison (above) explained that this is an area “we want to expand into in all of the work we're doing.” DPR has been working closely with a steering committee in the Kern County city of Shafter that includes several social justice and environmental activists. Morrison said an additional $4 million for air monitoring and $3 million in total for staff to serve as community liaisons would allow DPR to expand beyond the AB 617 communities.

Wieckowski called it “nice” that government wants to do more things. But he wanted to know if the added funding was at all proportional to the amount of pesticide emissions being released in these communities. The administration did not have those numbers available.