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Grilling the Farm Bureau V DALLAS REP. Al Granoff, an admitted member of the Texas Farm Bureau. recently questioned TFB State Affairs Director Joe Maley at a House committee meeting. Topics included TFB membership, profits, and bureau positions on pesticides, English First, and Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower. The Farm Bureau is one of several organizations advocating changing from an elected to a non-elected comissioner of agriculture. Excerpts from the hearing follow: Granoff: Your organization, in fact, takes a whole range of policy positions in terms of how you think government should be run. Isn’t that correct? Maley: That’s correct. Granoff: Included in those are statements in favor of English Only, special warning laws to prohibit laborers from gathering on the producers’ properties, and a whole variety of positions. Isn’t that correct? Maley: That’s correct. Granoff: Let me ask you on one position, because I think it’s very important on how we perceive your attitude toward pesticides and therefore toward the Department of Agriculture. And this goes back six or seven years. And I want to quote, the most striking legislative goal that you had at that time was the complete dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency. And the quote given by the Bureau was: “I’m concerned that some day, that we someday won’t be able to use any herbicides or pesticides. Scientifically, there’s nothing wrong with DDT. We live in a risk society. Somewhere along the line we’re going to have measure the risks of pesticides and herbicides against our ability to feed ourselves.” And although the federation never endorses political candidates, he added “the automobile at Chappaquiddick killed more people than DDT.” When we hear positions like that, and numerous positions taken. uh, by the Bureau; I’m concerned now whether that is still a position. Whether the bureau still believes that DDT should come back. And what your position is in terms of the use of pesticides that have been declared unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency and whether you’re still in favor of dismantling the Environmental Protec tion Agency? Maley: Representative Granoff, I’m sorry, I did not hear what you were quoting from on that last. Granoff: I think it is the president of the national Farm Bureau. Maley: O.K., in regard to agricultural chemicals that are being used today, as far as our position, we ask that regulations be made on sound scientific basis. Number one, we use the chemicals ourself. Most of our members, our producer members, are actively involved in their own farming and ranching operations. They use these chemicals. As well as our family members. We live and work on those ranches. We drink the ground water under those farms and ranches. So, we’re not in favor of using any chemical that is going to be detrimental to our land or to our health. But it goes a step further than that. We’re not interested in using any chemical that is going to be harmful to our producers, also. So I don’t know where to go from there on your question. Granoff: The bureau, then, -has a different position regarding DDT today than it used to have? Maley: I’m going to have to plead ignorance on that because that’s a national issue and I do not know at this moment. Granoff: The position taken, and I think not dissimilar to what you just said, that the restriction or bans on the use of agricultural chemicals must be based on sound this is out of your policy notes on sound scientific research or facts, as you have just stated, rather than on emotion or unreliable tests with small animals. When you say that you don’t want to make decisions . .. regarding what would go in our food based on unreliable tests with small animals, what is it that you mean? Maley: Well, many times when you find a problem has been determined as a carcinogen, and of course not being a scientist I can’t speak in detail on this, but when you look at the dosage that is required in this case to create cancer in a rat, for example, the total amount, we’re talking about pound after pound of active ingredient to create that result or that effect. All of this, if you translate it over into the dosages or the amount that are used in actual agricultural operations are minute compared to those quantities. And, we’re also talking about a very small animal, compared to a human being, also as far as total size. Granoff: So, basic scientific tests involving animals, you think, should not be used to determine we should go ahead and allow them to use them until it’s proven that human beings are negatively impacted. Then, after the fact, perhaps we should repeal them from the market. But not until the time that we see that humans have suffered. Is that the position? Maley: No, sir I don’t think that’s necessarily the position. No, sir. Granoff: I’m having a hard time discerning if the scientific tests involving animals are not adequate in order to remove something from the marketplace, what would be outside of proof that people are getting sick. Maley: O.K., I think, Representative Granoff, when you get into, again using the term sound scientific experimentation -of course I’m getting into an area that I’m not an expert on anyway but I think the reliability of the test in some instances can be questioned. And a previous speaker mentioned the apple scare, the Alar scare that took place within the last month-and-a-half. [Neither] the Environmental Protection Agency nor the National Academy of Science, nor any of our nationally recognized research institutes had indicated that Alar was a problem. Yet a private group came out with a study and suddenly apples were pulled off the market. Those are the kind of things that concern us. If an agriculture chemical is proven to be detrimental, either after release for our use or before, we do not support using that chemical. Granoff: I suppose the basic difference in attitude on this is ultimately a question of whether a chemical should be released based on whether it’s proven dangerous, it should be taken back, or whether it’s not to be released until it’s proven safe. . . I would dare say the vast majority of the public, member or nonmember of the Farm Bureau, would want things to be safe. I certainly understand the frustration of the farmer who is trying to get in his crop. 1,01 A 50-YEAR-OLD Austin salesman reported another LBJ sighting, this one at midnight outside the Austin Amtrak Station. The former President was standing on the track just after midnight when the salesman, according to Astrology and Psychic News guided him back to the station. When the salesman, James Denniston, asked if he could be of any further help, he said, Johnson “turned and looked directly into my eyes and gave me the coldest stare. He said, ‘Do you know who you are talking to?’ ” According to Denniston, it didn’t occur to him until later that the man was the former President. 1=1 V 16 APRIL 28. 1989