OAKLAND (KCBS) – The state is trying to rush a new plan for dealing with invasive insects that will hurt farmers and could prevent Californians from blocking any kind of pesticide spraying in the future, according to a coalition of environmental and health leaders.

Critics argue new pesticide guidelines drafted by the state agriculture officials continue an outdated approach of quarantining farmland when cheaper, more environmentally friendly options are available.

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“Farms are shut down for the finding of a single insect. They can be shut down for weeks. Farmers can’t ship their commodities. It’s unmanageable,” said Nan Wishner of Stop the Spray East Bay.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has been developing a plan officials said allow for a quick response to invasive pests.

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Spokesman Steve Lyle said they’ve already modernized some of their approach even before work began on the Pest Programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

“We no longer treat with malathion. We no longer fly planes that are spraying pesticide over communities for the medfly. We release sterile insects,” he said.

Environmentalists also worry the new guidelines will make it almost impossible for Californians to stop the state from spraying in the future, even when combating new species or using new pesticides, a position Lyle said was untrue.

The California agriculture secretary has met with Wishner’s group and others to incorporate their ideas, Lyle said, and remains open to meeting with them again in the future.

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