Budget End Run Threatens Near Shore Environment

Buried in the proposed Washington state budget is a plan to spend $534,000 to “study” the use of the lawn pesticide imidacloprid to kill naturally occurring burrowing shrimp in shellfish aquaculture. Imidacloprid is an insecticide neurotoxin, part of a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids. Instructions for commercially available Imidacloprid specifically warn against use in water, and the Washington State Department of Ecology denied its use as of September 2017: 

After considering and responding to more than 3,000 public comments, the Washington Department of Ecology has finalized its decision to deny the use of imidacloprid on shellfish beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Mounting scientific evidence confirms the harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide poses too great a risk to Washington’s environment.

The League opposed bills in February that would have allowed the use of this pesticide in shellfish aquaculture, and neither HB 1611 nor SB 5626 advanced beyond committee readings. Legislators would not support use of these toxins when their votes would be recorded on the House and Senate floors, but they are permitting an end run by including a test of the pesticides directly in the budget.

We are dismayed that legislators inserted the study into the budget and placed a timeline on it such that chemicals will be applied in the next 45 days and the report must be submitted by June 1, 2019. Here is a link to the section of the budget and here is the text: 

(9) $534,000 of the state toxics control account—state appropriation is provided solely for a monitoring program to study the impacts of the use of imidacloprid as a means to control burrowing shrimp and related costs. Department costs include, but are not limited to, oversight and participation on a technical advisory committee, technical assistance, planning, and reporting activities. The department may also use the funding provided in this subsection, as needed, for payments to Washington State University, the United  States department of agriculture, and outside consultants for their participation in the monitoring program and technical advisory  committee. The department must report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by June 1, 2019, on the progress of the monitoring program. 

Contact your legislators now to request that this expensive and toxic study be removed from the budget.


The League of Women Voters of Washington is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

League of Women Voters of the United States

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software