RICHMOND (KCBS) – A coalition of health and environmental groups has stirred up a hornet’s nest at the State Department of Food and Agriculture, contending that the state is too quick to use pesticides to eradicate invasive pests.

Coalition member Nan Wishner of California Environmental Health Initiative is asking the department to slow down as it prepares an environmental impact report on controlling and eradicating invasive pests.

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”Sit down at the table with the best scientific minds who are already researching it,” said Wishner. “There’s a team of entomologists at UC Davis who have been working on what they call the 21st century paradigm for controlling agricultural pests and invasive species.”

Food and Ag spokesman Steve Lyle said that his agency is listening to the coalition.

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KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

”We are interested in the ideas that they bring, and we’re interested in meeting with any group with compelling ideas about how to attack the invasive species problem that threatens California,” said Lyle.

He said that he strongly disagrees with the coalition’s assertion that state Food and Ag takes a “one size fits all approach,” to fighting pests. Lyle contends the agency tries not to use pesticides whenever possible.

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