Godzilla versus Mothra: the LBAM sequel

Tiny moth, vast threat?

It seems like only the other day that the Guardian broke the news that the California Department of Food and Agriculture was threatening to spray San Francisco with moth pheromones, based on controversial estimates of a tiny invasive moth's economic and environmental impacts.

That program was stopped, but not before residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey were subjected to repeated spraying by low-flying crop dusters, and questions were raised about the economic and political motivations behind the push to spray.

And now, on the 4oth anniversary of Earth Day, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has announced that San Francisco is joining a coalition of cities and health, environmental and mothers' groups in a lawsuit that challenges the state's current light brown apple moth (LBAM) eradication program. 

Filed in Alameda County Superior Court today, the civil lawsuit charges that the final programmatic Environmental Impact Report for the program is not based on sound science, and is invalidated because the program's objective was changed from eradicating to merely controlling the moth, after the EIR was finished.

"The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has produced an environmental impact report that raises many more questions than it answers," Herrera said in a press release. "After combing through this document, it is literally impossible to say with certainty what CDFA plans to do, or when and where it plans to do it. To confuse matters further, the eradication program under review was subsequently morphed into a 'control, contain and suppress' program-whatever that means."

Copies of case documents are available at the City Attorney's website.