Godzilla versus Mothra - Page 3

How monumental estimates of a tiny invasive moth's economic and environmental impacts are threatening San Francisco with aerial spraying

"But what if you can't eradicate it because it's too far gone?" he asked.

As for the unlikely scenario in which fixed-winged aircraft fly sideways between high-rises and the Transamerica Pyramid as they spray clouds of pheromones across the Castro, Chinatown, and beyond, Carey observed, "These moths can live in little pockets, so San Francisco will become a reservoir for them."

The CDFA's Steve Lyle told the Guardian that at this point the agency has completed treatment for 2007 and is evaluating what it will do in 2008 and where it will do it.

"It's fair to say that the entire program is being assessed, but we have made no definitive decisions and made no announcements," Lyle said.

With the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment reassessing whether Checkmate causes harm to people, plants, and pets, Lyle added, "The moth is of serious concern to the feds. Unfortunately, this invasive pest is established in an urban area."

USDA public affairs specialist Larry Hawkins was a little less vague. "Since LBAM has been found in San Francisco proper and in the East Bay, these areas are likely to be treated in 2008," he said. "But we're considering whether to treat them through ground applications or aerial application."

Hawkins said any control action "will be preceded by informational meetings with the public, so any actions will be fully disclosed."

David Dillworth, executive director of the nonprofit Helping Our Peninsula Environment, which is suing the CDFA over the Monterey spraying, advised San Francisco to get proactive and lean on its elected leaders.

"San Francisco still has time to get Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, whose backyards will be sprayed, to put pressure on USDA to stop the eradication, since at this point all they can really do is control the moth," Dillworth said.

Pelosi's press secretary, Drew Hammill, told the Guardian that Pelosi is "checking with state and city officials regarding the spread of this species.

"While the Speaker understands the consequences this moth can have on our precious ecosystem," Hammill said, "she is also concerned about the prospect of spraying any substance into the air in our city and its possible effects on public health and organic farming in our state."