Op-Ed for Assembly Bill 2465

Dear Editor:

California State Assembly Member Mariko Yamada has introduced Assembly Bill 2465, sponsored by the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC). AB 2465 would require the State of California to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) as defined in the document “Best Management Practices for Mosquito Control on California State Properties” on any newly acquired land after January 2011. As the public health protectors against mosquito and vector-borne diseases, the member districts of MVCAC support this sustainable idea.

If signed into law, AB 2465 would require every agency of the state to manage newly acquired property appropriately with a goal of reducing mosquito breeding opportunities. This would include eliminating wasteful watering practices on state-owned lawns and landscaping, and managing wildlife and wetland areas in order to reduce mosquito habitat. Implementation of this legislation would reduce health care costs borne by the state and local governments resulting from mosquito-borne diseases, including but not limited to the West Nile virus. AB 2465 would reduce costs to local government mosquito control agencies and would reduce the amount of pesticides used to control mosquito breeding. As an association, MVCAC understands that the implementation of AB 2465 would require pre-planning on any new acquisitions, but the legislation will result in an overall cost savings for the future. MVCAC and its member agencies applaud Assembly Member Yamada for recognizing this public health issue and taking the initiative to mitigate the risks associated with mosquitoes and unmaintained properties.

Unfortunately, AB 2465 is currently on the Assembly Appropriation Committee Suspense File, which means if it is not moved forward, it will die in the legislative process. The use of BMPs to reduce pesticide loads and mosquito populations is a cost effective and sustainable direction that California should take — it appears to be a win-win for the environment, public health and State finances.

MVCAC and its member agencies understand the State’s dire fiscal condition; however, if AB 2465 is fully implemented, it will save the state and local mosquito and vector control agencies money, and reduce the amount of pesticides necessary for mosquito control on state-owned lands, which would be a great benefit to the environment.

In the best interest of public health, environmental protection and cost mitigation as it relates to human health and local government pesticide expenditures, MVCAC supports AB 2465 moving forward in the legislative process as all Californians will benefit from the legislation.

Catherine Smith, Executive Director
Mosquito & Vector Control District of California