Iowa Public Television


U.S. Seeks Another Delay in Methyl Bromide Phaseout

posted on November 26, 2004

U.S. farmers who grow tomatoes and strawberries might have to cut back more than they planned on the use of an ozone-depleting pesticide.

Negotiators for the international pact to phase out chemicals that harm the Earth's protective ozone layer are balking at the continued delays the United States has sought in meeting the treaty's goal for a 2005 ban on methyl bromide.

The situation adds uncertainty for U.S. farmers and their plans for the 2005 planting season and crop income. In addition to crops, the chemical also helps control pests in wooden pallets used by shippers.

The 1987 treaty allows for "critical use" exemptions, and the Bush administration has asked for one for the second year in a row. This time it wants to use the pesticide at a rate of 37 percent of the tonnage used in the 1991 baseline. Other nations want the U.S. request scaled back to 27 percent.

Tags: agriculture news pesticides pollution tomatoes