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IPM bill finds little support

Published on March 10, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on April 7, 2011 9:00AM

Opponents say current system works, why fix it?


Capital Press

SALEM -- The Oregon Toxics Alliance and some lawmakers want to change how state workers decide to treat weeds and insects on state lands.

The alliance has introduced House Bill 2188 to change the definition of integrated pest management, which the state uses to determine when and if to apply pesticides.

Others ask, where's the problem?

The IPM standard state workers use to decide how and when to treat for pests is heralded as one of the best in the nation, said Terry Witt, executive director of Oregonians for Food and Shelter.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Witt said. "It's a standard that has worked very well. Oregon's IPM program has become a standard for other states."

But Lisa Arkin, executive director of Oregon Toxics Alliance, said changes are due.

"A lot has changed since 1991, when the original state language of IPM was adopted into law," she said.

The alliance proposes to omit language from the statute that calls for state workers to consider "economic or aesthetic thresholds" and "cost effectiveness" when addressing pest problems.

Witt said the bill appears to be an attempt to eliminate a tool -- the use of pesticides -- rather than fix a problem.

"The current statute is designed to control the pest the best way possible, considering the pluses and minuses of each tool," Witt said.

"I've seen no evidence the agencies under purview of this rule have had any problems," Witt said.

The bill appeared to have little support among members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

During a hearing on the bill March 2, Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, said she believed the current IPM definition is better than the one proposed in HB2188.

"I don't see a problem here," Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, said. "What we have in statute, according to my opinion, is sufficient for what we are doing."

The committee took no action on the bill.


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