Viewpoint: California pesticide regulation battle highlights influence of politically connected activist groups

| | May 15, 2020
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for strong regulatory enforcement to “protect children from pesticide exposure” in a new directive to agencies and directors [released in May]. Yet his letter, which carries no regulatory weight, is raising confusion among county agriculture commissioners while also giving a boost to an anti-pesticide group with ties to Newsom and his family.

[C]ommissioners contacted by Agri-Pulse were actually unsure why the guidance was needed …. While the state pesticide regulations have remained the same, there have also been no pesticide incidents reported and commissioners have continued enforcement ….

A letter to Newsom was sent on April 22 by …. an activist movement called Regenerate Ojai. They asked the governor to expand the state’s current restrictions on pesticide applications near schools. An additional 3,500 signatures were collected by a national organization, the Environmental Working Group ….

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Regenerate Ojai has ties to the wealthy Getty family. An heiress to the Getty oil fortune, Anna Getty is listed on the letter as a concerned parent …. Another family member, Gordon Getty, later seeded the money for Gavin Newsom’s first business. Newsom himself was “informally adopted by the Gettys,” according to Dan Walters at CalMatters.

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