Calif. groups seek ban on rice pesticide

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Rice field workers. (Photo: California Conservation)

Rice field workers. (Photo: California Conservation)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California environmentalists say a proposal by state pesticide regulators to allow spraying of a controversial pesticide on rice fields in the Sacramento Valley could harm aquatic organisms and honeybees.

Groups submitted a comment letter to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation on Thursday, asking the agency to withdraw the proposal for approving clothianidin for use on rice. The chemical is already registered in the state for uses on cotton, grapes and other plants.

DPR spokesman Paul Verke says the agency has concluded that using the product on rice would have no direct or indirect significant adverse environmental impact, but it’s continuing to review the pesticide.

Last week, beekeepers and environmentalists filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not banning the use of clothianidin and another pesticide they say is toxic to bees.

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