Four Florida beaches post health warnings for water quality

Tampa Bay Times – The Buzz

Four Florida beaches post health warnings for water quality

None are in Tampa Bay, however beaches in Hernando and Pasco tested for elevated levels of bacteria that could pose risks if the water quality continues to decline.

Sign at the entrance to Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park in Hudson. It’s better known as Hudson Beach Park. [CAROLYN EDDS | Times]

TALLAHASSEE — On one of the busiest beach weekends of the year in Florida, the state Department of Health warns that four Florida beaches — including three in Sarasota County — pose health hazards for beach goers because of high fecal levels.

“Water at this site may pose increased risk of infectious disease particularly for susceptible individuals,’’ the agency warns in a nondescript notice on its Healthy Beaches web site, which lists water test results for the sites the state tests.

Although the agency lists only one beach as receiving a health advisory, a review of the water sample reports by the Times/Herald found that four health advisories have been issued: one at the Panama City Beach Access in Bay County and three others in Sarasota County: Brohard Park, Lido Casino Beach and Venice Beach.

The warnings come a year after toxic algal blooms closed beaches across the state during the Fourth of July weekend and beyond. So, if there is any good news to the warnings this year, state regulators reported on Wednesday that “there are currently no known algal blooms affecting Florida beaches.”

But at the four beaches in which advisories have been issued, contamination from flesh-eating bacteria is now a new concern. In the last month, two cases of life-threatening infections have been reported from Florida waters .

A 77-year-old woman from Ellenton fell and scraped her leg while walking on Anna Maria Island and died two weeks later because of an infection from a flesh-eating bacteria. The report came just weeks after the mother of a 12-year-old Indiana girl wrote on Facebook that she believes her daughter contracted the same infection during a trip to Destin in early June.

Both are believed to have suffered from “necrotizing fasciitis,” an infection caused by bacteria that stops blood circulation and causes tissue to die and skin to decay. The infection, although rare, can come from different strains of bacteria found in the water and on sand, health officials say.

It is called “flesh-eating” because the infection progresses rapidly. In April, two men reported cases of necrotizing fasciitis in Tampa Bay after spending time on the water.

When the Department of Health issues an advisory, it means that water samples have been tested and re-tested to confirm that the bacteria levels are dangerous and the water is too contaminated to enter.

“These indicate that contact with the water at this site may pose increased risk of infectious disease particularly for susceptible individuals,“ DOH said on its Healthy Beaches web site. State officials are warning people to stay away from swimming in these waters with a wound or cut, and to refrain from eating uncooked seafood.

The Department of Health samples the water in dozens of beaches in the state’s 26 coastal counties and relies on the public to check its web site to get the word out. The agency posts data “in real-time to the DOH Healthy Beaches webpage,” and posts advisory signs at the beach and sends out media alerts, said Brad Dalton, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health.

According to the most recent water samples, 16 beaches in 11 counties — including in Miami-Dade and Broward counties — have elevated levels of bacteria that could pose risks if the water quality continues to decline.

In Miami-Dade, Dog Beach on the south side of Virginia Key Beach has tested as having “poor” or high levels of bacteria, with 70.5 parts per 100 ml of marine water on July 1. Oleta State Park also tested as having moderately elevated levels with between 35.5 to 70.4 per 100 ml.

In Broward, two beaches — Dania Beach and Commercial Boulevard Pier — tested for higher levels of bacteria. Monroe County hasn’t had its beaches tested since June 25, according to the Department of Health, and all received a good rating.

But new information won’t be updated until after the weekend, Dalton said.

“Lab tests take 24 hours to incubate after sampling and delivery time; thus the process takes two consecutive days to collect sample and get lab results, so it is unlikely any testing will be done over the holiday or on the weekend,’’ he said.

Beaches with high bacteria levels

Miami Dade — one poor, one moderate:

• Dog Beach (Virginia Key Beach, South side) tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on July 1.

• Oleta State Park tested as having moderately elevated levels – between 35.5 to 70.4 on July 1.

Broward — two moderate:

• Dania Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on July 1.

• Commercial Boulevard Pier — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 17.

Bay — one health advisory:

• Panama City Beach Access — tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on June 24 and again on July 2. An advisory has been issued.

Collier — one moderate:

• Hideaway Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 19.

Escambia — two moderate:

• Sanders Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on July 1.

• Bayou Texar — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24.

Flagler — one moderate:

• North Flagler Pier — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 18.

Franklin — one moderate;

• St. George Island at 11th St. — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24.

Hernando — one moderate:

• Pine Island Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 18.

Martin — one moderate:

• Jensen Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 17.

Okaloosa — three moderate:

• Henderson Park Beach — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24.

• Lincoln Park — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24.

• Rocky Bayou State Park —tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24, an improvement over its poor test on June 10.

Pasco — one poor:

• Robert J. Strickland Beach — tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on June 24 and it was listed as moderate on July 1.

Sarasota — 3 beach advisories:

• Brohard Park — tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on July 1 and again on July 2, an advisory has been issued.

• Lido Casino Beach — tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on July 1 and again on July 2, an advisory has been issued.

• Venice Beach — Tested as having poor levels of 70.5 per 100 ml of marine water on July 1 and again on July 2, an advisory has been issued.

Wakulla — one moderate:

• Mash’s Island — tested as having moderately elevated levels — between 35.5 to 70.4 on June 24.

July 4, 2019: What’s the Real American Story?

Robert Reich
July 4, 2019
What’s the Real American Story?

This July 4th let’s reject Trump’s false narrative for America and tell the real American story rooted in history, truth, and facts.

What's the Real American Story?

This July 4th let's reject Trump's false narrative for America and tell the real American story rooted in history, truth, and facts.

Posted by Robert Reich on Thursday, July 4, 2019

Trump could feed every homeless veteran for the cost of his parade!

President Donald Trump’s military parade is set to kick off on Veterans Day, but at a cost that even conservative estimates show could feed every homeless veteran for at least two weeks, a Newsweek analysis found.

The military showcase was initially estimated to cost $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told the House Budget Committee in February. That cost accounted for Trump’s vision of tanks rolling through Washington DC—not unlike what he witnessed in France during its Bastille Day celebration, or what occurs in North Korea, China and Russia—though a Pentagon memo originally obtained by CNN on Friday nixed the use of heavy military vehicles.

Though not an exact science—parade cost estimates included using tanks et al., and it’s impossible to determine exact figures of homelessness by nature of their transience—these numbers provide a financial comparison and a look at the Trump administration’s priorities.

Using the most conservative estimates available from federal agencies and non-profit organizations, Newsweek found Trump could completely eliminate hunger among homeless veterans, serving them three meals a day, for at least 14 days.

GettyImages-814226372
The cost of President Donald Trump’s military parade on Veterans Day could pay for completely eliminating hunger among homeless veterans for at least two weeks, conservative estimates show, according to a Newsweek analysis.ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

 

The Numbers

There were 40,056 homeless veterans in the United States in 2017, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development report published last December. The finding marked a 1.5 percent increase from the 39,471 homeless veterans in 2016—the first such increase in seven years.

Feeding America, a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest hunger-relief and food rescue group, found the average cost-per-meal in the U.S. was $2.94 in 2015, the latest data available. The organization culled data from several organizations and agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found the cost-per-meal ranged from a low of $2.04 in Maverick County, Texas to a high of $5.61 in Crook County, Oregon.

A $10 million military parade—Mulvaney’s lowest estimate, granted it included tanks—could provide $249.65 for all 40,056 homeless veterans. That could provide each of those veterans 44.5 meals priced at $5.61 per meal—the highest national cost estimate, according to Feeding America—enough for three meals a day for 14.8 days.

Adjusting the cost per meal to the national average of $2.94, homeless veterans could eat three meals a day for nearly a month, 28.3 days.

In February, Trump told Fox News he wouldn’t hold the parade if the cost was exorbitant.

“We’ll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can’t, we won’t do it, but the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I,” he said.

On Thursday, the Pentagon sent the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a memo saying the military showcase would be integrated with the annual Veterans Day parade in DC and have an “an emphasis on the price of freedom.”

This is why the ocean is key to protecting our planet against climate change

Climate Reality

This is why the ocean is key to protecting our planet against climate change

This is why the ocean is key to protecting our planet against climate change

This is why the ocean is key to protecting our planet against climate change

Posted by Climate Reality on Friday, May 17, 2019

Are parts of India becoming too hot for humans?

CNN

Are parts of India becoming too hot for humans?

(CNN)Intense heat waves have killed more than 100 people in India this summer and are predicted to worsen in coming years, creating apossiblehumanitarian crisis as large parts of the country potentially become too hot to be inhabitable.

Heat waves in India usually take place between March and July and abate once the monsoon rains arrive. But in recent years these hot spells have become more intense, more frequent and longer.
India is among the countries expected to be worst affected by the impacts of climate crisis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Experts at MIT say that even if the world succeeds in cutting carbon emissions, limiting the predicted rise in average global temperatures, parts of India will become so hot they will test the limits of human survivability.
“The future of heat waves is looking worse even with significant mitigation of climate change, and much worse without mitigation,” said Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of hydrology and climate at MIT.

A mirage shimmers in New Delhi on June 10, 2019.A mirage shimmers in New Delhi on June 10, 2019.

When the heat rises
The Indian government declares a heat wave when temperatures reach at least 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 Fahrenheit) above the “normal” temperature for that area for at least two days. A heat wave becomes “severe” when temperatures climb to 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 Fahrenheit) above normal for at least two days.
Thresholds for heat waves, therefore, differ across the country — in the capital New Delhi, a heat wave is declared after two consecutive days of temperatures of at least 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).
Last year, there were 484 official heat waves across India, up from 21 in 2010. During that period, more than 5,000 people died.This year’s figures show little respite.
In June, Delhi hit temperatures of 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), the highest ever recorded in that month. West of the capital, Churu in Rajasthan nearly broke the country’s heat record with a high of 50.6 Celsius (123 Fahrenheit).
India’s poorest state, Bihar, closed all schools, colleges and coaching centers for five days after severe heat killed more than 100 people. The closures were accompanied by warnings to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, an unrealistic order for millions of people who needed to work outdoors to earn money.
And forecasters believe it’s only going to get worse.
“In a nutshell, future heatwaves are likely to engulf in the whole of India,” said AK Sahai and Sushmita Joseph, of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, in Pune in an email.

Arctic ice faces trouble from above and below

Arctic ice faces trouble from above and below

Arctic ice faces trouble from above and below .

Survivability
India’s situation is not unique. Many places around the world have endured heat waves so far this year, including parts of Spain, China, Nepal and Zimbabwe.
To examine the question of future survivability of heat waves in South Asia, MIT researchers looked at two scenarios presented by the IPCC: The first is that global average surface temperatures will rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The second is the more optimistic prediction of an average increase of 2.25 degrees Celsius. Both exceed the Paris Agreement target to keep the global average temperature rise by 2100 to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Under the more optimistic prediction, researchers found that no parts of South Asia would exceed the limits of survivability by the year 2100.
However, it was a different story under the hotter scenario, which assumes global emissions continue on their current path.

 

An Indian man uses a towel to wipe the sweat on his face on a hot and humid summer day in Hyderabad, India, on June 3, 2019. An Indian man uses a towel to wipe the sweat on his face on a hot and humid summer day in Hyderabad, India, on June 3, 2019.

In that case, researchers found that the limits of survivability would be exceeded in a few locations in India’s Chota Nagpur Plateau, in the northeast of the country, and Bangladesh.
And they would come close to being exceeded in most of South Asia, including the fertile Ganges River valley, India’s northeast and eastern coast, northern Sri Lanka, and the Indus Valley of Pakistan.
Survivability was based on what is called “wet bulb temperature” — a combined metric of humidity and the outside temperature.
When the wet bulb reaches 35°C it becomes impossible for humans to cool their bodies through sweating, hence it indicates the survival temperature for humans. A few hours of exposure to these wet bulb conditions leads to death, even for the fittest of humans.
The places in India where it could become more difficult to survive overlap with already highly vulnerable areas, said Eun Soon, assistant professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who also took part in the MIT study.
That is, places with dense populations and poor economies that rely heavily on fishing and agriculture. They include cities like Patna and Lucknow in northeastern India, home to more than 4 million people combined.
“If we continue to produce the greenhouse gases at the current pace, one of the most populous regions in the world will not avoid the high risk of the deadly heat wave, facing an upper limit on human heat tolerance,” she said.

What is the government doing about it?
India is still in the initial stages of developing a robust nationwide Heat Action Plan.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is working with state health departments to create an early warning system that would notify millions of people by text message about ways to stay cool, when heat waves hit.
The city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, introduced the country’s first action plan in 2013, and its text messages, extra drinking stations and advice to keep out of the sun are credited with saving more than 2,000 lives. At the same time, India is seeking long-term solutions.
A signatory to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the country has pledged to cuts its carbon emissions by 33% to 35% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration announced plans to add 500 gigawatts of renewable energy to the country’s power grid by 2030. By that year, renewable energy should account for at least 40% of India’s installed power capacity. The country is also planting forests to help mop up carbon emissions.
Climate Action Tracker, a site that analyzes countries’ progress, says India is making good headway but could do more by reducing its reliance on coal power stations.
report by India’s Central Electricity Authority released this week found that coal power could still account for half of India’s power generation in 2030, despite the country’s investments in solar power.
Given the more frequent heat waves and dire future predictions, capping a rise in global temperatures could very well turn out to be India’s most important challenge in decades ahead.
The survivability of more than a billion people is at stake.

 

Maryland boy infected with flesh-eating bacteria. Be careful this holiday!

USA Today

Matthew Prensky, USA TODAY       July 2, 2019

Dogs ‘think they’re going to die’ on the Fourth of July.

BP Says Some of Its Oil ‘Won’t See the Light of Day’

Bloomberg

BP Says Some of Its Oil ‘Won’t See the Light of Day’

Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg         July 3, 2019 

Can Vegetable Crops and Canola Coexist in the Seed Capitol of America?

Civil Eats

Oregon’s Seed War: Can Vegetable Crops and Canola Coexist in the Seed Capitol of America?

With a state law restricting canola cultivation set to expire, a 20-year fight over the future of growing seeds on the Willamette Valley’s 1.7 million acres is at stake.

By Lynne Curry, Farming, GMO’s, Pesticides        June 20, 2019

(Update: The Oregon state legislature voted on June 30 to pass SB 885, which extends for five years the moratorium on growing more than 500 acres of canola in the Willamette Valley.)

On July 1, a state law that restricts canola cultivation in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will expire. Around the state capitol, two groups of farmers and their advocates are locked in battle over the potential expansion of canola production. It’s the latest flare-up in a 20-plus-year fight over the future of these prime farmlands stretching 125 miles due south from Portland.

Cradled between two mountain ranges, the populous Willamette Valley is one of the most productive and protected agricultural regions in the country. While renowned for its diversity of farm crops and wine grapes that feed a thriving farm-to-table movement, it’s also the epicenter of a lucrative seed industry. Lands for growing grass seed, cover crop seed, and flower and vegetable seeds dominate the corridor’s 1.7 million arable acres.

Within the world of vegetable seed production, brassicas such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, and rutabaga contribute significantly to the valley’s specialty seed market, ranked fifth in the world. The canola plant is in the same Brassicaceae family (commonly known as mustard or cabbage). Also called rapeseed, the yellow flowering Brassica napus is a useful rotational crop for grass seed farmers in the valley, and the oilseed is crushed for oil and animal feed.

While canola has been raised in the Willamette Valley since before World War II, the state has taken a precautionary approach to the crop because it is a notorious cross-pollinator with rampant pest, disease, and weed issues. In 2013, the legislature implemented a 500-acre limit for canola cultivation in the Willamette Valley Protected District and tagged on a mandate for Oregon State University (OSU) to study the fields.

Now, with the July sunset date looming, a fierce debate has reignited between specialty vegetable seed stakeholders and pro-canola supporters.

canola field in oregon's willamette valleyAn Oregon canola field. (Photo CC-licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture)

Organic and vegetable seed producers fear that the potential for contamination from cross-pollination from canola, which also has the potential to carry genetically engineered (GE) materials, is so high it threatens the viability of Oregon’s specialty seed industry. Led by the Willamette Valley Specialty Seed Association (WVSSA), they’re seeking the protections of a renewed state law, SB 885, which would extend the 500-acre limit on canola for four more years.

Oilseed growers have long bristled at strict regulations that single out the canola crop from other brassicas and limit the development of an oilseed industry. They are pushing for expansion under a new set of rules from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) that would go into effect if the legislature allows the cap on canola to expire.

The central question in play is: Is there a way for vegetable seed and oilseed production to coexist? The matter is far from settled, and the pro- and anti-canola groups have found little, if any, common ground.

What’s at Stake for Oregon Farmers

Oregon’s Willamette Valley, with its mild, moist winters, long summers, and fertile soils, is one of few places, along with Chile, Australia, the Mediterranean, and western Canada, ideal for cultivating high-quality vegetable seeds. There is no official data collected on the number of seed companies located in the valley nor how many acres they farm. But industry sources reported to Civil Eats that there are at least 40 and as many as 100 seed companies operating on 10,000 to 12,000 acres. This includes valuable brassica seeds, including most of the world’s supply of European cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and turnip seed, and a quarter of the radish, Chinese cabbage, and other Chinese Brassica vegetable seed, according to a 2010 OSU report.

It’s well-established that when any variety of brassica blossoms, there is the potential for pollen to be transferred by insects or wind to other brassicas. If turnip pollen drifts to Chinese cabbage, for instance, it can produce undesirable traits in the resulting seed. However, the WVSSA has maintained a voluntary system of safeguards for decades that include field spacing (“isolation distances”) and crop mapping (“pinning”).

This same system is in use for GE sugar beet seed production, which was introduced in the valley in 2010. So far, it has worked to prevent sugar beets from contaminating fields of chard (a close relative) as well as non-GE table beets. But growers remain vigilant for transgenic contamination and test every seed lot.

While only non-GE canola is currently planted in Oregon, there is widespread concern that, because 90 percent of global canola seed is GE, it could make the canola seed supply vulnerable. Contamination from cross-pollination or seed mixing would make vegetable seed unsalable to the U.S. organic market or to countries that ban genetically modified materials, including Japan, Europe, and New Zealand. And there is no recourse or compensation for farmers.

Even without the GE issue, anti-canola advocates say low-value canola is a direct threat to the high-value specialty seed market. They point to places such as the U.K., Denmark, and France, where vegetable seed production declined or disappeared in the wake of commercial canola production as a result of disease and pest problems.

Nonetheless, the state-mandated OSU study on those 500 acres of canola has cleared a pathway for expanded canola production. Researchers collected data on the disease and pest impacts—but not cross-pollination—of canola on other brassica crops. It concluded, “The results of this research provide no reasons, agronomic or biological, that canola production should be prohibited in the Willamette Valley when there are no restrictions on the production of other [brassica] crops.” It also recommended an expansion of canola acreage to the state legislature as “reasonable and feasible.”

The Willamette Valley Oilseed Producers Association (WVOPA) touted the findings as a green light for canola production. Over the past two years, farmers have requested permits to plant twice the number of allowable acres. Canola is one of several crops that farmers can grow in rotation with grass seeds to break pest and disease cycles and doesn’t need irrigation. It’s desirable for farmers like Anna Scharf, WVOPA board president, who raises 11 different crops, including grass seed, turnip, clover, and wine grapes on close to 3,000 acres. “Because [canola] is a commodity, as a farmer I can grow the crop and play the market,” she told Civil Eats. “At the end of the day this fight comes down to economics.”

Currently, all canola seed grown in the valley is processed at Willamette Biomass Processors, located about 20 miles west of Salem. If canola production increased, its advocates say the certified organic facility could be used to produce more valuable food-grade canola oil. Growers like Scharf see alarmist fears over canola blocking its market potential She said, “I can grow marijuana easily in this state, but I can’t grow canola.”

The grass seed industry in the Willamette Valley is immense, representing most of the seed crops grown, or about 250,000 acres valued at over $228 million per year. In contrast, the acreage devoted to vegetable seed production is small, but the value is high, reportedly worth $50 million per year. And despite the study’s results, the anti-canola camp remains unconvinced that both an oilseed industry and specialty seed industry can coexist and thrive in the valley.

OSU vegetable breeder Jim Myers was one of the research advisors on the canola report. In his opinion, while the latest research provides more knowledge, the results have limitations. “I think it’s a problem of scale,” he said in a phone conversation with Civil Eats. “When you mix commercial acreage with seed production, then we get into problems.”

Specialty vegetable seeds are bred and selected to meet high quality standards for varietal and genetic purity—requirements that oilseed does not have. Myers detailed how increased acreages of canola with three-mile isolation distances between fields would fragment production areas. What’s more, just a few seeds blown off farm equipment and transport trucks could spread feral weeds, and because canola seed stays dormant in the soil for at least two years, weed problems could persist.

“I think the crux is, ‘What do we do best in western Oregon?’” he said. And that’s not growing commodity crops, in Myers’s view. He added, “It’s hard to know where the [vegetable seed] production would go if it couldn’t be done in the Valley.”

“Is Oregon willing to sacrifice this region to the interests of canola?” said Kiki Hubbard, advocacy and communications director at the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA). “What’s at stake is the diversity of our seed supply and the diverse seed economy currently thriving in the Willamette Valley.”

Countdown to Sunset

Underlying the controversy over canola, there is widespread agreement that the specialty seed industry is unique and valued. But there is no agreement over how to move forward. The oilseed growers insist on their right to farm, while the vegetable seed growers, along with plant breeders and seed companies, fight for self-preservation.

“Coexistence requires compromises,” the OSU report stated. But it also acknowledged the uneven playing field: “Coexistence does not mean that risks, if any, are equally distributed among the sectors.” The report noted that the data could not predict that “unlimited Brassicaceae crop production within the Willamette Valley would not result in production problems.” This is the heart of issue for the specialty seed industry: in the current paradigm of coexistence, they are the ones with everything to lose.

Beehives in an Oregon canola fieldPhoto CC-licensed by Ian Sane.

After years of meetings with all stakeholders, the ODA’s draft regulations for canola include an isolation area banning 937,000 acres of the Willamette Valley from canola production. The zone outside of this area, about 1.5 million acres, could be planted with canola by permit from ODA, as reported by The Capital Press.

“Nobody likes it,” said Jonathan Sandau, government affairs director for the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB), which participated in the rule making. Members of OFB include farmers growing specialty crops as well as farmers who would like the opportunity to grow canola.

“I don’t think you can ban one industry,” Sandau said. “I think the department really strived to find within their existing authority an ability to protect the specialty seed industry.”

In their current form, seed growers say the regulations leave a lot of unanswered questions, including permitting requirements and pinning system details. “There’s a lot of gaps in what they’ve proposed,” says Smith of WVSSA. “I’m worried.” And three organic seed companies, Adaptive Seeds, Moondog’s Farm, and Wild Garden Seed, are located outside of the proposed isolation area.

But Sandau wonders, “If you’re asking for greater protection, how much protection is enough?” At the same time, he acknowledges that no one knows the market capacity for canola or the long-term impacts it could have on agriculture in the Willamette Valley. As a representative from the U.K. seed company Limagrain put it during 2009 discussions about permitting canola in Willamette Valley, “Once the genie of canola production is out of the bottle, you will never put it back.”

With the deadline on the canola law closing in, oilseed opponents may get their wish from the legislature. According to several sources in the Oregon capitol, SB 885—the continuation of the existing 500-acre limit—appears to be moving to a vote and may pass before the end of June. If approved, it would go into effect immediately, with a new expiration date in 2023. If it doesn’t pass, the ODA is mobilizing to present new rules in time for fall canola planting.

But even a four-year reprieve will not resolve the canola war in Oregon. “Either the legislature’s going to act or ODA is going to have a rule,” said Scharf of WVOPA. “No matter what happens, it is very consequential for the state of Oregon.”

Stewardship is one of the hallmarks of the diverse Willamette Valley farm community. So, as the canola schism draws out, many have argued for being “good neighbors.” Even the OSU report urged “the entire agricultural industry to maintain good stewardship practices to protect the status of the Willamette Valley as a premier seed production region.”

But some growers, including veteran plant breeder Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed, question the presumption that peaceful coexistence between producing oilseed and specialty vegetable seeds is reasonable and feasible. “This is a road paved with good intentions, perhaps,” he said in a testimony to ODA, “but it will lead to a world of conflict without end.”

(Correction: This article was updated to reflect the fact that Willamette Valley canola is not currently sold for biofuels. Craig Parker, CEO of Willamette Biomass Processors, told Civil Eats that the plant used to sell to the biofuels industry, but the economics were not sustainable.)

Even Ronald Reagan knew a demagogue when he saw one???

Occupy Democrats
July 2, 2019

Or in this case, cynically hugging the flag. Yes Republicans, the immortal Ronald Reagan said this. There is no excusing your support for the “amoral” Donald Trump.

Follow Occupy Democrats for more.

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