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NYAFEC GAINS SOLID FOOTHOLD IN SHAPING NEW YORK PESTICIDE POLICIES

In just nine months, the New York Alliance For Environmental Concerns (NYAFEC) already is realizing the benefits of joining separate environmental horticultural industry groups together to pursue common goals and interests. NYAFEC consists of the Nassau/Suffolk Landscape Gardeners Association, NYS Lawn Care Association, NYS Nursery/Landscape Association, NYS Turfgrass Association (NYSTA), Professional Lawn Care Association of America, Professional Landscape Association of Rockland County, Brooklyn Landscape Gardeners Association, Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association, Hudson Valley GCSA, Long Island GCSA, and the Northeastern GCSA.

“We have several important goals, but our immediate objective was to establish an effective, daily professional presence in Albany,” says Larry Wilson, chairman of NYAFEC.

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NYAFEC hired The Vandervort Group, LLC to represent its interests before the state legislature and regulatory agencies, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Attorney General.

Recent regulatory and legislative victories show NYAFEC's positive influence. After years of delay, a state rule regulating commercial lawn care practices was proposed last year. “The original draft rule would have been disastrous for lawn care companies and customers alike,” noted Don Burton, president of the NYS Lawn Care Association, who along with other NYAFEC members, formed a working group in April 2002 to challenge the rule. The “revised” rule was approved by the state Environmental Board in July, containing several of the improvements NYAFEC had fought for over the prior 14 months. The rule becomes effective January 1, 2004.

Tom Delaney, vice president of government affairs for the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), says, “I'm proud that PLCAA was instrumental in getting these groups together and finding such effective representation in Albany. We know that what happens in New York has an effect in other parts of the country. Our challenge is to turn New York into a positive model for other states.”

EPA CANCELS REGISTRATION OF ORGANOPHOSPHATE DIAZINON

EPA has canceled its registration of the organophosphate diazinon, setting the stage for the final phaseout of one of the most widely used home and garden insecticides. The cancellation order comes nearly three years after a December 2000 EPA risk assessment. Syngenta, the manufacturer of the chemical for residential uses, agreed to phase out its use. Existing stocks may be distributed until December 31, 2004.

Diazinon is used on a variety of agricultural crops and livestock, on turf and for residential control of various insects indoors and outdoors. According to the EPA's Web site, the Agency has concerns for potential children's exposures in the home. Potential routes of exposure for children may include inhalation of vapors and airborne particles and dermal contact.

Diazinon is toxic to birds, mammals, honeybees and other beneficial insects. It is also toxic to freshwater fish and invertebrates following acute exposure. The endangered species levels of concern are exceeded for terrestrial wildlife, aquatic life and terrestrial plants.

Diazinon is one of the leading causes of acute insecticide poisoning for humans and wildlife. For humans, the rate of incidents is not high relative to its large volume of usage. The majority of incidents occur in the home. It also is one of the top causes of bird kill incidents.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE MEETS WITH SENATE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, President Bush's nominee for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, met with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for confirmation hearings last week.

Committee Chairman Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said he wanted to put Leavitt's nomination for the EPA position to the committee for a vote possibly late this month, after which it would go to the full Senate for final approval, according to a September 12 The Salt Lake Tribune article.

Leavitt faced confirmation Thursday beginning at 9 a.m. EDT in a session that Democrats intended to use as a forum for their allegations of a 9-11 air quality cover-up and a growing list of green grievances against President Bush.

Leavitt was expected to face questions at the hearing from Senate Democrats about not only his Utah record, but the Bush administration's commitment to public health and a clean environment.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is planning to block Leavitt's nomination until she receives a more complete explanation of why the White House pressured the EPA not to warn people in the vicinity of New York City's 9-11 Ground Zero of the danger from airborne asbestos, lead and other harmful substances after the terrorist attacks.

SPOKANE GOLF COURSE SUPERINTENDENT TO RECEIVE NATIONAL HONOR

Jeffrey L. Gullikson, certified golf course superintendent at Spokane (Wash.) Country Club, has earned the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's (GCSAA) 2004 President's Award for Environmental Stewardship in recognition of his involvement in the Golf and the Environment initiative.

Gullikson, a 20-year member of GCSAA, will be presented the award by GCSAA President Jon D. Maddern, CGCS, Feb. 13 at the Golf General Session during GCSAA's 75th International Golf Course Conference and Show in San Diego, Feb. 9-14.

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