"Suit Challenges Calif. Approval of Farm Pesticide"

"LOS ANGELES — A coalition of environmental and farmworker groups said in a lawsuit announced Monday that state pesticide regulators improperly cut off public comment on a controversial agricultural fumigant in order to secure its passage before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's term ended.

The suit, filed by the lawyers with Earthjustice and California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., accuses the Department of Pesticide Regulation of violating state law by mischaracterizing methyl iodide's approval last month as an emergency action.

"DPR created a political 'emergency' by insisting on locking in its decision before a new administration takes office," CRLA attorney Mike Meuter said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court, also says that regulators did not sufficiently evaluate the pesticide's risk and that their approval was based on insufficient data, among other claims. It seeks to have the pesticide's approval vacated. "

Jacob Adelman reports for the Associated Press January 3, 2011.

Source: AP, 01/04/2011