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I think the NWP has either gotten themselves into a pickle or someone is creating a pickle... either way, rail lines need to be sprayed to allow for inspections and more importantly, need to prevent fire hazards... What are your guys thoughts.

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I read that last night. I understand why the Vinyard owner waited 5 months to make it public what he thinks happened, no one would buy those grapes. My guess would be there was a fair amount of wind that day they sprayed.. I don't think anything will change but to be more aware of what the weather s doing. Vineyards have been planted right up the ROW so the contractor may not be able to use normal equipment for weed abatement. May need to come up with a more controlled way of spraying
OK $1500 in lost grapes and $5000 in testing?? Dosent sound like a huge deal to me. I'm sure the contractor will be at fault and the NWP will have to review how they hire contractors.

Since the RoW is owned by SMART they would be a party to any lawsuit as well as NWP who would be treated as their contractor.

Somewhat off subject but Dempel is a respected Sonoma grape grower.  What baffles me is what is he doing growing Pinot Noir up in that area which is Zinfandel and Cab country?  Pinot is much better down by Sebastapol and the lower Russian River area.  Story doesn't track for me. 

As a follow up to this 2015 story in which Michael Harrison wrote "Ooh Bother..."

I've been looking for vineyard property in the Healdsburg area.  If you scroll down you will see my 2015 comment about Bob Dempel growing Pinot Noir in this region.  Well we all know it is not getting any cooler in our summers so when I saw his vineyard up for sale:,-12...

I thought about this post.  Bob is an old school type of wine grape grower who in the video admits that he used RoundUp in his vineyards during the winter.  But the problem is that RoundUp is a systemic plant killer and spraying it in December is just as bad as later like NWP may have had done. 

Now sustainable viticulture (read no sprays) is the norm in the Sonoma grape growing culture and Bob's property up for sale is an untouchable. 

The photos of the damaged leaves in the article seem to indicate that the overspray (if that is what it was) was very minor.  Richard's post below about this vineyard being up for sale, coupled with the farmer's admission that he regularly uses Roundup himself (and which has been repeatedly proven to be harmless despite a tremendous amount of "fake news" to the contrary) may suggest he's making much ado about nothing to bolster a claim that it's diminished the value of his property for sale.  I'd certainly drink the wine made from those grapes without giving it a second thought.  It's odd that he didn't have the grapes he says he's dumping tested for any sort of contamination, isn't it?  It's also odd that despite claims by two other farmers, they aren't coming forward to complain at all.

Also, take a look at the pictures with the article, which presumably were taken at the same time, as the farmer is dressed identically in each.  In one, he's showing withered green leaves, which would indicate relatively recent exposure to Roundup, while in another he's standing (illegally) on the tracks, which show a completely cleared area free of any weeds at all, indicating that the application of the spray to the tracks would have occurred considerably previous to the spray that affected the green grape leaves.  They know when NWP had the ROW sprayed.  It should be easy to establish approximately when the grape leaves were hit by evaluating the degree of deterioration in the leaves.  If the dates don't coincide, NWP would have proof that it wasn't their spraying that damaged his grapes... and "case closed."

Let's not dismiss entirely the possibility that some "Enemies of the Railroad" didn't spray the grape leaves as an act of sabotage.  Some organizations are determined to stop the line moving north at all costs.


I generally agree with you but cannot this tiem.  You wrote that .."Roundup....has repeatedly proven to be harmless despite tremendous amount of 'fake news' to the contrary....".

You may consider that our State is a purveyor of fake news, but serious independent tests are now proving it is a carcinogen.  This story from the newspaper from Silly Valley:

While it has been widely used in the past by growers of all sorts,  with the new reports, the Sustainability push in Sonoma Cty is receiving the high ball including the elimination of Roundup.


Well, I'm not going to get into a whole long discussion of something I know a fair bit about (because I use it and don't want to get cancer,) Richard, but I'll respond briefly:

1)   The article you cited is a Mercury News editorial opinion, not a scientific report.

2)   CA has, as far as I know, not yet added glyphosate to the Prop 65 "carcinogen list."  The controversy over its safety continues, fueled in large part by a) the folks who are pushing for "organic" everything and b) business competitors of Monsanto, which makes "Roundup," such as du Pont, that make their own herbicides and related GMO seeds. The US EPA has determined that Roundup is safe for use as directed. I would strongly suspect that if CA attempts to require a "causes cancer" label on Roundup, Monsanto will file an action in Federal Court to enjoin that and would be successful.

3)   The widely publicized March 2015 IARC classification of glyphosate in Category 2A, a "probable carcinogen," (a category that also includes red meat) was based on their standard that anything they could not prove was not carcinogenic would be a "probable carcinogen."  IARC overlooked decades of thorough and science-based analysis by regulatory agencies around the world and selectively interpreted data to arrive at its classification of glyphosate. No regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen.  Regulatory agencies have reviewed all the key studies examined by IARC – and many more – and arrived at the overwhelming consensus that glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions.  Since IARC classified glyphosate, regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer. Additionally, in May 2016, subsequent to the IARC classification, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.” See:

4)    IARC’s classification is inconsistent with the overwhelming consensus of regulatory authorities and other experts around the world, who have assessed all the studies examined by IARC – and many more. While IARC’s erroneous classification has attracted media attention and been used repeatedly by certain anti-agriculture organizations to generate unwarranted fear and confusion, regulators around the world continue to support the safe use of glyphosate. Following are regulatory and other expert conclusions on glyphosate that have been announced in just the short time since IARC inappropriately classified glyphosate. To be clear: no regulatory agency in the world considers glyphosate to be a carcinogen.

European Chemical Agency (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC)
March 2017
“RAC concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction.”

Korean Rural Development Administration (RDA)
March 2017
“Moreover, it was concluded that animal testing found no carcinogenic association and health risk of glyphosate on farmers was low. … A large-scale of epidemiological studies on glyphosate similarly found no cancer link.”

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
October 2016
“Glyphosate does not pose a cancer to humans when used in accordance with the label instructions”

Expert Panels on Glyphosate – Peer Reviewed in Critical Reviews of Toxicology
September 2016
“The data do not support IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen” and, consistent with previous regulatory assessments, further concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans”

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
September 2016
Glyphosate is classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”

New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority
August 2016
“Glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic”

German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
May 2016
“No hazard classification for carcinogenicity is warranted for glyphosate according to the CLP criteria”

Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR)
May 2016
“Glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”

Japan Food Safety Commission (FSC)
March 2016
“No neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive effect, teratogenicity or genotoxicity was observed”

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
November 2015
Glyphosate is not classified or proposed to be classified as carcinogenic or toxic for Reproduction class 2

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
October 2015
Glyphosate is classified as “Not Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans”

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
June 2015
“No convincing evidence of potential interaction with the estrogen, androgen or thyroid pathways”

Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
April 2015
“The overall weight of evidence indicates that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a human cancer risk”

You can read the reports above and reach your own conclusions.  Your mileage may vary, of course.  If you want to pull up your poison oak patch by hand, be my guest! :-)

Bob C., thank you for your research.  I shall resume using Roundup on the nasty weeds in my backyard.  My aching back thanks you for saving me further hard labor from hand pulling.  And no guilt trip.  Thanks! 

Bob, thanks for the reminder:  I need to spray Roundup on my hillside and around my home this weekend, a chore that has been delayed by the long rainy season.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate on Saturday.


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