The final environmental impact report for the Light Brown Apple Moth program has been released and is available for viewing at www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/PDEP/lbam/envimpactrpt.html
Completion of the EIR is required by the California Environmental Quality Act and is a procedural step in the ongoing invasive pest program.
The EIR determined that it was unlikely that the approaches in the LBAM program would cause human harm or environmental damage, and found that greater potential for human and environmental harm would come from widespread pesticide use by private parties and organizations in the absence of an LBAM program.
The approaches evaluated include the use of moth pheromone, organically-approved materials, and sterile moths. The only two treatment methods being considered currently are the placement of pheromone twist ties on trees and plants, and the release of sterile moths. The sterile release project is the preferred alternative identified in the EIR. CDFA is not currently considering aerial applications of pheromone.
The EIR states that eradication is the goal. However, the application is broad and would apply to either an eradication or control strategy, depending on the needs of the program.
"This is a significant step in this program," says CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. "The environmental impact report reaffirms what we have long known - that the Light Brown Apple Moth project is a safe approach to dealing with a damaging pest. This report demonstrates CDFA's commitment to protecting California's environment and food supply."
Activist groups and some scientists are objecting however, and want the USDA to reclassify the pest. The are asking that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture take immediate action to reclassify the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) as a non-quarantinable pest, in accordance with the evidence presented in two petitions to the USDA on this topic last year, thus stopping the expensive, dangerous, unnecessary, and scientifically infeasible eradication program now proposed for California by the state's Department of Food and Agriculture.