North Coast Rivers Alliance et al. V. California Department of Food and Agriculture

January 22, 2015
Final judgment
United States, Sacramento

Environmental NGOs, Health/Food groups, Individuals, Local authorities
North Coast Rivers Alliance, Pesticide Free Zone, Inc" Health and Habitat, Inc" Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Gayle McLaughlin, Environmental Working Group, City of Berkeley, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides, California Environmental Health Initiative, Environmental Action Committee of West MarinI Safe Alternatives for Our Forest Environment, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Californians for Pesticide Reform, and Moms Advocating Sustainability
Department of State
Arthur J. Friedman (Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP), Jason R. Flanders (Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group)

Neonicotinoid, Other
Declare the pest prevention and management program illegal under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Superior Court of California of Sacramento, United States
No description

December 8, 2017
No description
No description

The City of Berkeley and 11 environmental, public health, and food safety organizations filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Sacramento, California against the California Department of Food and Agriculture's ("CDFA") plant pest prevention and management program.

In a December 8th, 2017 ruling, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's decision, finding that CDFA violated the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") by certifying the California-wide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program ("PEIR") Environmental Impact Statement when the program was harming environmental health.

The decision cites numerous situations in which CDFA failed to analyze and report on the adverse health and environmental effects of the more than 75 pesticides the department proposed to use in its program. In effect, CDFA has failed to assess and reduce the harm caused by pesticide spraying to bees, other pollinators, and to inform the public when pesticides are applied, even though the program sprays pesticides on private residential properties, public properties, and agricultural and wild lands. Several of these pesticides are known to cause cancer and birth defects and to be highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds, including neonicotinoids, methyl bromide - a toxic, ozone-depleting fumigant - and chloropicrin, which causes genetic damage.

In addition, the CDFA underestimated the effects of its program on water quality, particularly because it understated the amounts of pesticides that would be used, including in relation to other treatment programs, a cumulative risk, in addition to the more than 150 million pounds of pesticides already used in California each year.