US Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) unsuccessfully proposed an appropriations amendment that would prohibit the US Army Corps of Engineers from spending federal dollars to use a controversial herbicide in and around the Los Angeles River.
“Many of my constituents who live near the Los Angeles River are rightly concerned by the Army Corps of Engineer’s use of glyphosate to remove vegetation,” said Schiff of the popular herbicide Roundup’s active chemical component, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined is a probable cause of cancer.
“I believe the Army Corps should find alternative ways of managing vegetation in the river that do not raise health concerns, and I remain committed to finding legislative avenues to compel them to do so,” Schiff said in a statement issued June 14.
Locally, Roundup has been banned in Pasadena since last year. After the Pasadena Weekly reported the controversial herbicide was being sprayed on county property in Northeast Pasadena, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents Altadena, introduced a motion to ban use of the herbicide for 30 days while county officials studied it and searched for an organic replacement.
Schiff’s proposal would have amended legislation currently being considered in the House of Representatives to provide funding for the Army Corps for fiscal year 2020. The amendment was not included by the House Rules Committee among the list of amendments that would receive a full vote in the House.
Schiff wrote to Army Corps Chief of Staff Col. Kirk E. Gibbs in October 2017 and January 2018, urging him to find alternatives to using glyphosate.
After the corps indicated it would not stop using glyphosate in response to community concerns, Schiff also proposed two more proposals to prohibit the use of glyphosate in the LA River.
In March 2015, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The US EPA, however, says it is not a carcinogen.
Roundup was produced by the Monsanto Co., which was acquired by Germany-based Bayer AG in 2018. Since then, despite the EPA’s findings, plaintiffs in three separate lawsuits have been awarded nearly $2.5 billion in damages. There are currently more than 10,000 other lawsuits facing Bayer AG.
According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014 about 240 million pounds of glyphosate had been sprayed in the US.