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When it comes to Atrazine, farmers & rural communities deserve a science-driven review


Fri, Jan 22nd, 2010
Posted in Commentary

During the past half-century, atrazine has become one of the most widely used herbicides in Minnesota and the rest of the Midwest. Unfortunately, it is also top of the list in another category: it is the most commonly detected pesticide in our state's surface and groundwater. Atrazine contamination has been found from agricultural communities in southeast Minnesota to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. That's a concern when one considers that there is an increasing body of science showing that exposure to the herbicide, at even extremely low levels, could pose significant health risks to humans and animals. That's why it is so key that the Environmental Protection Agency's current review of atrazine's safety be based on science and what's good for the public.

A report released January 5 by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) documents Syngenta's efforts to undermine what was supposed to be a thorough, transparent regulatory review of atrazine earlier this decade. The report, "The Syngenta Corporation & Atrazine: The Cost to the Land, People & Democracy," documents how the EPA review process that led to atrazine's U.S. re-approval in 2003, was marred by closed-door meetings involving the Syngenta corporation and EPA officials. That review was also characterized by a lack of independent research and suppression of science that showed significant health and environmental problems associated with the herbicide.

The current EPA review of atrazine was launched in October and will continue until fall 2010. This review is a chance for EPA to get it right and to use science in the public's best interest.

One way to get it right is for government decision-makers, as well as the public, to ignore claims that atrazine is an irreplaceable corn production tool. As the report shows, farmers right here in Minnesota are raising corn without the controversial herbicide, as are farmers in the European Union, where atrazine is banned. Wisconsin remains a top corn producing state, despite some of the toughest atrazine restrictions in the nation. Farmers are too innovative to allow one production tool to limit their choices when it comes to raising a crop.

The LSP/PAN report does not call for an outright ban of atrazine or any other herbicide. Many LSP farmer-members use pesticides in their cropping operations. But, that means they rely on the EPA to use a transparent process when registeri .....
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A glass half full for 2010, a way forward

Fri, Jan 15th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

As we begin a new year and a new decade, we should reflect on the past and move forward. It is hard to imagine what the next year could bring and impossible to imagine how the next ten years could impact our lives. We do have the tools to look back ..... 
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One moment, please... Social Media: The good, the bad and the ugly

Fri, Jan 8th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

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Health care bills, Part one

Fri, Jan 8th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Recently I wrote a commentary and submitted it to the editor that I now hope is not printed. Reading the Senate bills components caused fit of pique that required the catharsis of putting my displeasure down on paper. I was so worked up by the failu ..... 
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Food for thought

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Someone called my name at Preston Foods and I turned to see my friend, Bonnie Haugen, who I first became acquainted with when I interviewed her for a Journal article in 2001. Although I hadn't seen her for a long time, visions of Springside Farm in ..... 
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The key to good politics? Good communication

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Not long ago, I was speaking to a group of high school students when one raised his hand, declared that he wanted to run for Congress, and asked what he should study in order to prepare. I suspect my answer surprised him. I told him to study English ..... 
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One Moment Please - Leadership Training

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

"We got no food. We got no jobs. Our pets' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!!" This is a quote from the character Lloyd Christmas from the movie "Dumb and Dumber." In contrast, th ..... 
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An appreciation

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I have always considered it a privilege to write a commentary piece for the Journal. I am allowed to write about anything I choose and never have the editors changed the content of what I wrote. I have received unsolicited positive comments, and hav ..... 
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One moment, please...

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years, throughout my life in the newspaper business, I have received many anonymous correspondence via letters, telephone voice mails, and even e-mails from individuals who have strong opinions one way or another.

While some of the me ..... 
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