*This post is part of a series, “HBT On The Issues,” that lets visitors know where HB Tomorrow has stood on specific issues in Huntington Beach. If you would like to know where HB stands on an issue of interest to you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2016, HB Tomorrow began actively urging city Council and staff to adopt an Integrated Pest Management program to remove toxic herbicides and pesticides from our parks and other public spaces to keep our children, adults, and pets safe, save water, and protect the environment. HBT informed the Council that Monsanto, the largest producer of pesticides, was facing a battery of lawsuits in 2017 for its role in causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and that under Government Code section 862, cities were liable to the same extent as private actors like Monsanto. In 2018, the first of those lawsuits resulted in an award of tens of millions of dollars against Monsanto for its role in concealing the dangers of its products from the public, including “ghostwriting” and paying for the publication of scientific articles promoting its products.
Irvine modeled a highly successful implementation of a non-toxic IPM beginning in 2016, and Huntington Beach uses the same landscaping vendor as Irvine. The group Non-Toxic Irvine offered to help our city with training. The approximately $500,000 startup costs of a non-toxic IPM are comparable to the city’s increases in senior-center landscaping and recreation for 2017. The IPM costs break even at 2.5 years, and compared with traditional pesticides yields significant savings by year five, and consumes 30% less water.