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EPA Has Revoked Approval of Two Moth Pesticides Used for Aerial Spraying in California

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revoked approval of two moth pesticides pulled from aerial spraying over a dozen California counties last year when residents argued in a Santa Cruz court that the government failed to adequately assess health and environmental risks.

Residents now worry that another unknown pesticide may be used to combat the light brown apple moth.

The EPA determined last month that two Checkmate products, which sparked complaints in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties in 2007, were not needed because other products are available.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has promised no new aerial spraying in urban areas, is breeding and releasing sterile moths as a way to keep down the population.

On Monday, the mayors of Albany and Richmond; several residents; and a grassroots group, the North Coast Rivers Alliance, asked a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco to dismiss their lawsuit last year alleging that the EPA did not adequately evaluate the public risks from two Checkmate pesticides, causing widespread harm to people, pets and wildlife.

The federal Agriculture Department, citing the potential loss of millions of dollars in crops and ornamentals, had asked the EPA for the emergency exemption that led to use of the pesticides on 83,500 acres without the state evaluation and approval.

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