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Environmental attorney calls on Tampa Sports Authority not to use controversial pesticide this week

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

With just 24 hours before the Tampa Sports Authority is poised to begin applying a controversial pesticide on a city of Tampa owned golf course, neighboring activists have recruited a well-known environmental attorney for a last-ditch effort at preventing the spraying from occurring.

“Please do not apply Curfew to the Babe Zaharias golf course in Tampa,” Cape Canal based attorney Ralf Brookes writes in a letter to the TSA board. “There are too many proximate residents and citizens of Tampa who live too close, and there are biological and other controls for nematodes that can be applied instead of Curfew.”

Curfew is a restricted pesticide that the TSA intends to use to control nematodes (ground worms) at Babe Zaharias, beginning on Tuesday and lasting until Thursday of this week. The Tampa City Council voted last week to have the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission test the air quality at the course 24 hours after the initial application of Curfew.

Curfew is made by Dow AgroSciencies and goes under the technical name of 1,3-dichloropropenene. It’s used primarily to reduce the population of nematodes (round worms) and other soil-borne pests that damage developing root systems of young plants.

In his letter, Brookes says that the TSA’s 48-hour notice of the application is deficient because “it does not meet EPA notification requirements to directly notify residents of the ‘Early signs and symptoms of exposure.'”

He also says that “many” residents who live near Babe Zaharias in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Tampa will be leaving their homes “for at least 72 hours” to ensure that their exposure to the pesticide is minimized.

“These residents of Tampa will retain their travel and living expenses while displaced from their homes and will ask to be reimbursed for their expenses during this self-evacuation,” Brookes writes.

A request for comment from the Tampa Sports Authority was not immediately returned.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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