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LBAM Issue Far From Over

Photo by David Williams, State of Victoria Department of Primary Industries
Light Brown Apple Moth

By Krista Almanzan

Monterey Bay Area – Aerial spraying to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth is finished for the year, and won't start up again until the spring. Opponents of the spraying are using that down time to build their case.

John Russo, Carmel Valley farmer and creator of, is leading an effort for a legislative change. He's part of a committee that drafted a proposal for a new law. All it says is if you want to spray somebody with something or you want to spray their property you need to ask them. That's it. It's just simple courtesy, you ask them, said Russo.

The group passed its proposal on to Assemblyman John Laird. A spokesman for Laird said it's too early to know what will happen, but his staff will vet the idea. The Assemblyman has until the third week in February to introduce the proposal as a bill. Russo and others are also making their case to Senator Abel Maldonado.

As the effort to stop the spraying moves forward, farmers and nursery owners remain under quarantine. Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau President Steve Bontadelli says it affects each business differently. Some have to pass inspections before they can ship their goods. Others, like Bontadelli, grow plants that are not likely hosts for the Light Brown Apple Moth, so they can ship freely within the US.

But Bontadelli is still losing money because of Canadian quarantine which keeps his Brussels sprouts out of British Columbia. If you're from within a mile and a half of a find, they don't allow you to ship into British Columbia at all, said Bontadelli. It's a big market for us. Especially for the Christmas season upcoming because their local stuff - they stopped getting production as it gets colder up there, and so we're their main source of supply.

As the state moves forward with its Light Brown Apple Moth eradication plan, it has also formed a committee to explore alternatives. That Environmental Review Committee is set to meet again in January.