U.S. Seeks Another Exemption from Methyl-Bromide Ban

Over the past year, the U.S. requested and received a one-year exemption from the Montreal Protocol’s provision banning the use of ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide, sparking international controversy. International controversy, however, is like crack to the current administration, so here we go again: At international talks this week, the State Department will request another year’s exemption, extending through 2006. U.S. agricultural-industry reps claim that there is currently no economically viable alternative to the chemical, a fumigant injected into soil to kill pesky critters and weeds. Enviros, farm-worker advocates, and even some pesticide distributors disagree, as does the Natural Resources Defense Council, which claims that, according to the U.S. EPA’s own figures, the requested exemption is actually larger than total current methyl bromide use.