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Three Companies Penalized for Pesticide Violations on Yakama Reservation

Release Date: 2/22/2005
Contact Information: Scott Downey
downey.scott@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-0682

      February 22, 2005
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today administrative complaints filed against JSH Farms, Inc., Ag-Air Flying Services, Inc. and Yakama Land Enterprise for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The complaints alleged violations in 2004 on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington State with proposed penalties totaling $12,480.

“These violations are particularly disturbing because in two separate instances the pesticides landed on people,” said Mike Bussell, Director of the EPA’s Regional Compliance and Enforcement Office. “Pesticide regulations are there to ensure proper use and prevent injury. Applicators need to be trained and follow the instructions on the label.”

The EPA has jurisdiction over federal pesticide laws on Indian reservations. Elsewhere in the state, the primary responsibility lies with the Washington Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Bussell goes on to state that “EPA considers compliance with pesticide regulations within the Reservation to be a high priority during the coming growing season. We will be working closely with the Yakama Tribal Pesticides Program to ensure proper pesticide use.”

The alleged violations for the three companies included:

JSH Farms, Inc. (Wapato, Washington): With proposed penalties of $1,680, the complaint alleges that JSH Farms:
  • Used the restricted pesticide Chlorpyrifos 4# AG in September, 2004 without the proper equipment, and allowed the pesticide to drift onto an adjacent property.
  • Allowed the pesticide to drift onto an adjacent property owner causing eye and skin irritation.
    Ag-Air Flying Services, Inc. (Granger, Washington): With proposed penalties of $3,120, the complaint alleges that Ag Air:
    • Applied the pesticide Warrior in June 2004, allowing it to drift onto grapes on an adjacent property. The pesticide is not approved for use on grapes.
      Yakama Land Enterprise (YLE), (Toppenish,Washington): With proposed penalties of $7,680 the complaint alleges that YLE:
      • Applied the pesticide Assail in May 2004, allowing it to drift onto a nearby organic cherry orchard.
      • Applied the pesticide Guthion Solupak in June 2004, allowing it to drift onto a Pacific Power and Light employee who was reading electrical meters on nearby properties, and failed to post warning signs about the pesticide application.
      • Applied the pesticide Assail in August 2004 and failed to provide workers with information about the pesticide, failed to notify workers of the address and phone number of the nearest medical facility and failed to assure that the pesticide workers and handlers were properly trained.

      Each company has 30 days after receiving the complaint to request a formal hearing to contest any fact or the appropriateness of the proposed penalty.

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