BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 21
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2009

                              Cathleen Galgiani, Chair
                   AB 21 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  March 18, 2009
          SUBJECT  :  Pesticides: methyl bromide: study and report.

           SUMMARY  :  Makes legislative findings and declarations; requires  
          the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to review existing  
          and emerging emission control technologies to reduce  
          specifically methyl bromide emissions; requires, by July 1, 2011  
          a report to the Legislature detailing availability of such  
          control devices and techniques as specified.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :

          1)States the economic benefits of ports, listing the employment  
            and wages, contributions by the seaport business to the  
            economy, and revenues at a national level.

          2)States that California seaports are critical to this state's  
            economic health, that they handle one-fifth of the nation's  
            international trade, that some trading partners require the  
            use of methyl bromide on products, describes methyl bromide  
            and its historic and current use and that it depletes ozone.   
            Further states that ethyl bromide poses a threat to humans,  
            animals and the environment, that its use is under careful and  
            appropriate regulation, and those who perform work with it  
            have the most stringent health and safety requirements  

          3)Requires the DPR to examine existing and emerging emission  
            control technologies for reducing industrial methyl bromide  
            emissions and to report to the Legislature by July 1, 2011.   
            Requires the report to detail available emission reducing  
            control devises or techniques for each system to include, but  
            not be limited to, the following:

             a)   Process or operation, including installation, operation,  
               scientific process and waste disposal;

             b)   Locations where the systems are used in California and  
               how long they have been used;

             c)   Theoretical emission reduction or emission reduction  


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               achieved in practice if applicable;

             d)   Type, quality, and toxicity of waste produced;

             e)   Manufacturer of system; and,

             f)   Cost of system.

           EXISTING LAW  requires the Director (Director) of DPR to adopt  
          regulations that govern the use of methyl bromide and  
          chloropicrin as field fumigants, and authorizes the Director to  
          prescribe the time when, and the conditions under which, methyl  
          bromide and chloropicrin may be used in different areas of the  
          state.  DPR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have  
          classified methyl bromide as a "Restricted Use Pesticide" i.e.,  
          a pesticide that may be purchased and used only by certified  
          applicators or persons under their direct supervision.  Special  
          use permits are required for the use of methyl bromide and it  
          may only be used under specified conditions, with required  
          buffers, supervision and other stated conditions.

          California Code of Regulations (3CCR Section 6000) define  
          industrial use as "use within the confines of, or on property  
          necessary for, the operation of factories, processing plants,  
          packinghouses, or similar facilities, or use for or in a  
          manufacturing, mining, or chemical process.  In California,  
          industrial use does not include use on rights-of-way.   
          Post-harvest commodity fumigations at facilities or on trucks,  
          vans, or rail cars are normally industrial use."

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  This bill is keyed "fiscal" and will  
          be referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee.

           COMMENTS  :  Methyl bromide comes from both natural and man-made  
          sources.  It naturally occurs in the oceans and is also produced  
          in small quantities by certain terrestrial plants.  Manufactured  
          sources are used for agricultural and industrial purposes as a  
          fumigant against a wide variety of pests including spiders,  
          mites, fungi, plants, insects, nematodes, and rodents  It was  
          introduced as a pesticide in 1932, and was first registered in  
          the United States in 1961.  Methyl bromide is recognized as a  
          potent ozone depleting substance.  

          The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to  
          protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a  


                                                                  AB 21
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          number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone  
          depletion.  The treaty was opened for signature on September  
          1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989, and has since  
          gone through seven revisions.  Of those ozone-depleting  
          substances scheduled for phaseout, methyl bromide began at a 25%  
          reduction in 1999, increased to 50% in 2001, 70% in 2003 and was  
          100% in 2005.  It is recognized that many parties rely on methyl  
          bromide for trade and conservation of biodiviersty uses, and  
          will use it until viable alternatives become available and  
          acceptable for quarantine and pre-shipment use.

          Exception to the phaseout are uses for quarantine or  
          governmental control, critical and emergency uses.  To qualify  
          for a critcal or emergency use, the United Nations Technical and  
          Ecomomic Assessment Panel (TEAP) must have a request from the  
          signatory country stating the critical use, amounts, and  
          locations.  The TEAP must approve all critical use and bases  
          approval upon there being no economic or technically feasiable  
          alternatives to methyl bromide.   The most recent set of  
          'critical use' exemptions in the US include uses for tomato,  
          strawberry, and ornamental shrub growers, and fumigation of  
          ham/pork products.

          According to the author's office, the focus of AB 21 is due to  
          methyl bromide's global warming potential and that the majority  
          of its uses continue to be vented into the atmosphere.  Further,  
          even though residents near commodity fumigation facilities are  
          safe, trace amounts of the product contribute to poor ambient  
          air quality in communities near the ports; hence, the state's  
          need to examine any and all technologies that can reduce or  
          eliminate methyl bromide emissions.

          According to industry sources, there are three closed methods  
          currently used internationally, only one method is used in the  
          U.S., known as the Great Lakes method and is found in three  
          locations - two small units at airports in Texas and a larger  
          unit in Watsonville, California.  There is an alternative system  
          being proposed for construction at the Port of Stockton.  Other  
          systems at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach may have been  
          used in the past and have been abandoned.  There are an  
          estimated 10 sites at the ports that have been approved for  
          fumigation purposes.  Federal approval for use is based upon  
          single treatments, while DPR's approval is based upon all uses  
          and requires more stringent buffers and venting compliance.


                                                                  AB 21
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          TEAP has been in the process of developing a report for the next  
          convening of the Montreal Protocol signers in November 2009,  
          with a pre-report due July 2009.  This report is to include the  
          technical and economic availability of alternative substances  
          and technologies for the main methyl bromide uses, by volume,  
          and of technologies for methyl bromide recovery, containment and  
          recycling.  This report is to highlight areas where sufficient  
          information indicates opportunities for reductions in methyl  
          bromide use or emissions for quarantine and pre-shipment  
          purposes, including technically and economically feasible  
          alternatives and technologies for recapture and destruction of  
          methyl bromide, among other requirements.

          The committee may wish to consider, in lieu of a DPR report as  
          described in AB 21, to have DPR review and comment on the TEAP  
          report, forwarding the TEAP report and their comments to the  
          Legislature.  This could provide cost savings to DPR.


          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
          Clean Water Action
          Coalition for Clean Air
          Consumer Attorneys of California
          International Longshore & Warehouse Union, AFL-CIO
          Pesticide Watch
          South Coast Air Quality Management District


          California Woman for Agriculture
          Western Plant Health Association
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Jim Collin / AGRI. / (916) 319-2084