BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 21
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          Date of Hearing:   April 29, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                   AB 21 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  April 2, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              E. S. and T.  
          M.Vote:      5 - 0
                        Agriculture                           5 - 1

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              


          This bill requires the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)  
          to review the assessment of the environmental impact of Methyl  
          Bromide from the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties  
          to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer  
          and the twentieth meeting of the Parties to the Montreal  
          Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer by the  
          Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP).  In addition,  
          the bill requires DPR to make comments on the assessment and  
          submit the review to the Legislature.

           FISCAL EFFECT 

          Costs for associated with DPR reviewing the assessment and  
          submitting that review to the Legislature would likely be less  
          than $50,000. 


           1)Purpose  . According to the author, methyl bromide has a global  
            warming effect that is five times greater than carbon dioxide  
            and the majority of it continues to be vented into the  
            atmosphere from fumigation practices.  Even though safety  
            measures may ensure that residents near commodity fumigation  
            facilities are safe, trace amounts of methyl bromide  
            contribute to poor ambient air quality in communities near the  
            ports where the chemical is used to treat containers of  
            imported produce from other countries.

            The sponsors, the Coalition for Clean Air, suggest that the  


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            state needs to examine technologies that can best reduce or  
            eliminate methyl bromide emissions from commodity fumigation  
            facilities.  The DPR is best poised to evaluate emission  
            reduction technologies for methyl bromide.  TEAP is preparing  
            a report on methyl bromide alternatives and emission control  
            technologies.  The draft report is scheduled to be complete in  
            July of this year. This bill is intended to require DPR to  
            conduct a comprehensive review of the draft report and provide  
            the Legislature with its findings and recommendations for  
            state action.

           2)Methyl Bromide  is a pesticide used to control insects,  
            nematodes, weeds, pathogens, and rodents.  In the United  
            States, methyl bromide is used in agriculture, primarily to  
            fumigate the soil for tomatoes, strawberries and peppers and  
            for commodity treatments, primarily for grapes, raisins,  
            cherries, nuts, and imported fruits and vegetables.  When used  
            in commodity treatment, the gas is injected into a chamber or  
            tarp containing the commodities.  Commodities can be treated  
            several times during storage and shipment.  

            According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methyl  
            bromide is a toxic material. Exposure to this chemical will  
            affect not only the target pests it is used against, but  
            non-target organisms as well. Because methyl bromide  
            dissipates so rapidly to the atmosphere, it is most dangerous  
            at the actual fumigation site itself. Human exposure to high  
            concentrations of methyl bromide can result in central nervous  
            system and respiratory system failure, as well as specific and  
            severe deleterious actions on the lungs, eyes, and skin.

           3)The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone  
            Layer  . The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty  
            developed to protect the earth from the detrimental effects of  
            ozone stratospheric depletion. Since its initial signing by  
            the United States and 26 other countries in 1987, virtually  
            the whole world has signed on to the treaty (191 countries).  
            The parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to specific  
            reduction steps that lead to the phase-out of production and  
            import of ozone-depleting substances, including methyl  


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           Analysis Prepared by  :    Julie Salley-Gray / APPR. / (916)