FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Officials on Thursday abruptly canceled a state program to spray chemicals to combat crop-eating moth in urban areas after months of public uproar over its unclear effects on the environment and human health.
A.G. Kawamura, state secretary of food and agriculture, announced that California had abandoned plans to send up pesticide-spraying planes to fight the light brown apple moth in cities. That includes the densely populated San Francisco Bay area, which had been scheduled for treatment this fall.
“I know there’s concern out there, and we want to be able to address that,” Kawamura told reporters. “Our focus is to use the technology that has moved progressively forward.”
Instead, state and federal agricultural officials say they’ll keep the invasive pest from reproducing by releasing sterile moths that will render eggs useless.
Kawamura said that sterile moths have been a part of the state’s plans for more than a year, and that new science – not environmental concerns – prompted the change in direction.
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