CASS Press Release
May 5, 2008
Alliance To Stop the Spray (CASS)
Monday, May 5, 2008
to Local Economies
Tourism and real estate would be
major victims of aerial spraying
in nine Northern California counties
for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM),
losing from $200 million to $2 billion,
far larger than the US Department
of agricultureís projected crop
losses for all California growers.
And thatís just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to all figures in the
report, a ripple effect reduces
tax income and sales for businesses
patronized by workers in all these
areas for up to 10 years. All figures
are based on a 1 percent to 10 percent
drop in revenues. These calculations
are just part of a report
released today by the California
Alliance to Stop the Spray (CASS)
on economic costs and human rights
violations by the LBAM project.
Foster Gamble, a business executive,
led the team that produced the report.
Above all, we are concerned about
peopleís health, but we are also
concerned about how the aerial spraying
will impact peopleís financial well
being, Gamble said. If tourism drops
off just 1 percent, there would
be a loss of $198 million a year.
Already, there is chat on a premier
travel site recommending avoiding
these areas if the spray resumes.
In real estate, property values
could plummet further in an already
weakened market, as fewer people
would want to move to neighborhoods
being continually sprayed with pesticides.
If property values dropped just
1 percent, Gamble said, property
owners would lose a staggering $25.7
billion in equity. Already, the
Marin Association of Realtors has
changed disclosure forms because
some attorneys believe disclosure
is wise to ward off potential lawsuits.
Part of this wording is: Buyer is
advised to consult with environmental
health specialists and physicians
for further information regarding
pesticide spraying. The CASS Economic
Impacts and Solutions report projects
a spray-related loss to real estate
agents Commissions of $17.8 million.
Gamble and his team warn that organic
farmers are also going be hit hard
if this program continues. Shoppers
want to know if the produce has
been sprayed, not if the USDA says
it still qualifies as organic, says
Gamble. Our report projects that
organic farms could lose between
$2.8 and $28.8 million annually
in Santa Cruz County and Monterey
County alone. Thatís just 1 to 10
percent, a conservative estimates
compared with the spinach E coli
contamination in 2006, which dropped
local farmers revenues by 28 percent.
To date, the LBAM has caused no
crop damage in California. That
lack of crop damage was part of
the basis for a Santa Cruz County
Superior Court judge halting the
spraying until the state could complete
an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Along with economic analysis and
related topics, the CASS report
finds faults with the agricultural
agencies figures. The stateís estimates
of damage, the report explains,
are based on outdated calculations
related to Australian losses before
they got rid of old fashioned pesticides
that killed LBAM predators. The
stateís calculations also include
costs of research and chemical treatments
as if they were damage to crops.
The report also proposes 21 solutions
to the aerial spraying problem.
All, according to Gamble, are costeffective
and environmentally sustainable.
The report also calls for community
economic impacts to be included
in the EIR health assessments.