GreenYes Digest V98 #36

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:33:48 -0500

GreenYes Digest Thu, 12 Feb 98 Volume 98 : Issue 36

Today's Topics:
job: Environmental Specialist, San Jose
Recycling organic food back into toxic conventional agriculture
Reusable bottles

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Loop-Detect: GreenYes:98/36

Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 16:29 -0800 (PST)
From: "Lacaze, Skip" <>
Subject: job: Environmental Specialist, San Jose

The City of San Jose has just posted a job announcement for

Assistant Environmental Services Specialist.

Copies of the Announcement, the Supplemental Questionnaire, and the
Application are available from the Human Resources Department,
Room 207, City Hall, 801 N First St, San Jose, CA 95110, or phone
408/277-4205. Completed Applications and Supplemental Questionnaires
must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 1998. [Faxes are
not accepted and a postmark does not count for the deadline.]


Assistant Environmental Services Specialists perform professional
level technical and analytical work of moderate difficulty by
participating in the development, promotion, and implementation of
the City's environmental programs. This is an entry level position
with the chance to promote to the Associate Environmental Services
Specialist position.

Positions in the Environmental Services Specialist series are located in
several divisions of the Environmental Services Department, including:

Integrated Waste Management (solid waste and recycling)

Municipal Environmental Compliance (closed landfills, haz waste)

Environmental Enforcement (source control, non-point source)

Policy and Planning (long-range planning, legislative review)

Municipal Water System (water quality & conservation)

There are usually several openings each year; eligible lists are
valid for at least six months, sometimes longer.

1. Education: BA/BS w/ appropriate course work
2. Experience: One year promoting and participating in the
implementation of environmental services programs.

The written examination will be weighed 30% and is scheduled
for Saturday, March 21, 1998. The supplemental questionnaire is
weighed 70%.

SALARY: $1551.20 - 1884.80 biweekly
$3374.00 - 4099.00 monthly (approximate)
$40,488 - 49,188 annually (approximate)

BENEFITS: 12 paid holidays; two weeks vacation to start;
12 days sick leave; medical and dental
insurance; City retirement plan

note: Two years of increasingly responsible experience implementing
environmental services programs similar to an Assistant Environmental
Services Specialist is required for promotion to Associate E.S.S.
The Associate E.S.S. salary is approximately $46,800 to $56,900.

Any combination of training and experience equivalent to a BA/BS and
four years increasingly responsible experience similar to an Associate
E.S.S., including two years of team leading responsibility, is required for
promotion to Environmental Services Specialist. The E.S.S. salary
is approximately $51,600 to $62,700.

Additional information about the City of San Jose, the Environmental
Services Department, and the hiring process are available at the
following web sites:

You *must* get an Application and Supplemental Questionnaire from
the Human Resources Department in order to apply. The questions
from the Supplemental Questionnaire are copied below to allow you
to begin working on them before you get the official documents in
person or in the mail. (The questions are already posted in HR;
this is not an advance release -- locals have them already.)

Responses to each of the questions can be no more than one page,
one response per page, typed using double spacing on a single-sided,
8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet, with one-inch margins on all sides, in a font size
smaller than 10 points. (Don't use a 10-point font and then shrink-to-fit.)

On the upper right hand corner of each page, type or print your Social
Security Number. Do not include your name. Your responses must be
attached to the official Supplemental Questionnaire, which also includes
a page to show relevant classes/courses (name, units, dates & school).

QUESTIONS (be sure to use the questions from the official document)

1. Please describe your experience in the following areas:
a) Planning & Developing environmental initiatives and/or programs
b) Implementing environmental initiatives and/or programs
c) Researching environmental initiatives and/or programs
d) Evaluating environmental initiatives and/or programs

What improvements did you make to the programs that you were working on?

2. Describe your experience in working with groups or teams. What was
the nature or purpose of the group? What was your role? What was the
outcome of the group's efforts and how did you feel about it? What was your

contribution to the outcome?

3. Describe your experience in the following areas:
a) Program administration
b) Developing and managing budgets and costs
c) Contract/grant development and administration
d) Project management

4. Describe your experience in working with the public (e.g., outreach,
customer service, presentations, community group/agency involvement)?

There is always a chance that the Announcement or Supplemental Questionnaire

could be modified before the submittal deadline. It is better to get the
from HR so that you will receive notices of any changes. If you apply and
not receive notification well before the scheduled examination date, you
call HR at 408/277-4205 prior to that date.


Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 23:36:29 -0600
Subject: Recycling organic food back into toxic conventional agriculture

The Seattle Times has a series entitled ''Fear in the Fields.'' One of
the articles in the series, ''Throughout the country, example after
example of hazardous wastes being turned into fertilizer'' speaks of a
steel meal in Nebraska that found a way around shipping chimney-flue
dust to Mexico for $100/ton by building a fertilizer factory next to the
mill and used the waste as fertilizer. In Washington state, highly
toxic ash from the chimney from a pulp and paper mill is recycled into a
product called "NutriLime which is registered for farm use in Washington
and Oregon. While over in Colorado, the USEPA and the State of Colorado
have worked out a plan to send liquid waste from a Superfund site
through sewage treatment plants and be applied to wheat fields. Farmers
in Deer Trail are unconvinced of the safety of a plan. In Gore,
Oklahoma, land is sprayed with low level radioactive wastes recycled
into fertilizer. All this is part of President Clinton's apparent plant
to push for more recycle .

An increasing number of people are leaving conventional agriculture and
turning to certified organic foods that are grown naturally, the way
they God intended food to be grown --without poisons. Traditionally,
organic food has never used toxic chemicals that are in sewage sludge or
conventional fertilizers; never allowed genetic engineering that would
increase a crop's tolerance to pesticides or make a cow produce more
milk --milk which may contain pus from mastitis, or other infections and
need antibiotics, which have been reported to be in the milk--under the
organic label. No wonder people are becoming immune to antibiotics.
Just another reason to go organic! Organic has never allowed food to be
nuked with radioactive waste in order to preserve shelf life, unlike
conventionally grown food in supermarkets across the country. And, none
of this, nor other illegal regulations which modify rather than codify
the law, have ever been part of organic agriculture in the U.S.

All will go by the wayside with the USDA proposed regulations. The
following information comes entirely from:
The author, Frederick Kirschenmann has been in the organic farming
business for 22 years and farms 3100 acres in North Dakota. He serves on
the board of the World Sustainable Agriculture Society and is president
of the board of the Henry A. Wallace Institute. He was a founding
member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society. He has a
Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

He, and family farmers like him, have given the American public a
choice. I, for one, have chosen to feed my family certified organic
foods, which I believe are far safer than conventional agriculture.
But under the USDA's proposed regulations, the organic farmers' right to
farm and market their crops, and my right to choose, may be a thing of
the past. We'll both have to leave the United States if we want to
participate in the growing or purchase of organic agriculture in the
ways that the states have mandated organic food to be certified for the
past 20 years. The federal regulations will take precedent over the
state regulations...even over the State of California which was in the
forefront of the organic movement.

The USDA website is at http:// Give them a piece
of your mind!

Susan Snow

The Proposed Organic Rule:
It's Not Just About Sewage Sludge, GEO's and Irradiation

Frederick Kirschenmann

January 4, 1998

Since the proposed Rule to implement the Organic Foods Production Act
of 1990 hit the streets in mid December, 1997, it has raised howls of
protest. The fact that our government would even consider allowing
sewage sludge, genetically engineered organisms and irradiation
technologies in the production and processing of organic foods seemed
too outrageous to be believable. The fact that livestock standards have
been dramatically weakened, and that synthetic materials, which the
National Organic Standards Board specifically disallowed, were put back
on the National Materials List as allowable substances (which the law
specifically prevents the Secretary from doing) received much less

But the Rule proposes other regulations that may have even more sweeping
implications. These regulations, should they become law, could affect
every American, not just those interested in organic food. The
regulations, as proposed, would eliminate any real differentiation of
food products through labeling thus ending consumer ability to "boycott"

or "buycott" food products with their shopping dollars to support
environmental goals. In other words it could end all eco-labeling.

In the labeling section of the Program Overview the proposed rule
suggests regulations regarding the "Use of Terms of Statements That
Directly or Indirectly Imply That a Product is Organically Produced and
Handled (Section 205.103). In this section of the rule USDA proposes to
regulate "the labeling or market information that directly or
indirectly imply organic production and handling practices" and then
goes on to propose that "any terms or phrases that directly or
indirectly imply that a product has been organically produced or handled
would be prohibited from being used on the label, labeling or market
information of products that are not produced in accordance with the Act
and the regulations".

The Proposed Rule then goes on to give some examples of the kind of
labels that would be prohibited under this regulation. They include:
"produced without synthetic pesticides", "produced without synthetic
fertilizers", "raised without synthetic chemicals" "pesticide-free
farm", "no drugs or growth hormones used", "raised without antibiotics",

"raised without hormones", "no growth stimulants administered",
"ecologically produced", "sustainably harvested", and "humanely raised".

These broad, prohibitory regulations, should they become law, would
force many U.S. companies and grower associations who currently produce
and label eco-products to remove them from the market. Several examples
come to mind. Coleman's Natural Beef which produces a product without
growth hormones or antibiotics. The North American Bison Cooperative
that markets a hormone free and irradiation free bison product. Numerous
companies and grower associations that are presently marketing products
produced with IPM technologies. Perhaps even companies using the
"dolphin safe" and "SmartWood" labels to differentiate sustainable
fishing and forestry products would be in jeopardy.

The proposed rule also proposes regulations that would prohibit private
organic certification companies from certifying or labeling products
that differentiate "any farming or handling requirements other than
those provided for" in the government's regulations. (Sec. 205.301) This
means that if the government insists on allowing sewage sludge,
irradiation, genetically engineered organisms, piperonyl butoxide and
other materials and technologies that the National Organic Standards
Board specifically rejected for use in organic production, than no one
can certify any product that is free of these practices. Nor could
certifiers certify a product as meeting the requirements for biodynamic
farming, since its methods include requirements not "provided for" in
the rule.

Such regulations not only take power and preference away from consumers,
and limit the market opportunities of producers, they restrict
commercial free speech and leave chemically sensitive and allergic
people without any reliable choices in the marketplace that can
potentially protect them from harm.

Ironically, the proposed rule does not place such restrictions on
imported products or on foreign certifiers. The only requirement is that
imported products "at least" meet the requirements of the US organic
regulation. In effect, then, the regulations will encourage consumers to
look for imported organic products, certified by foreign certifiers
which can differentiate themselves from the US organic rule by
prescribing additional requirements. And it will force international
certifiers doing business in the United States to move out of the
country if they want to uphold the standards they have become identified
with over the past few decades. In order to retain the value of their
trademarks, many of which are now recognized throughout the world for
disallowing numerous practices and substances that the proposed rule
would allow, those international certifiers would be forced to operate
from another country. Other countries not only allow private certifiers
to uphold higher standards but some actively encourage it.

Alternatively, US certifiers could certify products destined for export
to a higher standard, but would not be allowed to so represent those
same products in the domestic market. In point of fact if the standards
in the rule are not changed, US organically labeled products could
rarely enter export markets based on US certification since sewage
sludge, etc. etc. have always been prohibited in organic production in
most foreign markets.

This potentially creates a laughable scenario wherein US certifiers
could certify product to meet export standards, see those products sold
into foreign markets from which they could then be sold back into the
US. Yet it would be illegal to market those same products directly in
the US.

In short, this proposed rule does not serve the interests of American
producers or consumers. It will be a boon for the conventional food
system which has, for years, sought to eliminate any differentiation in
the marketplace that threatens their market share.###


Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 12:09:38 EST
Subject: Reusable bottles

Reusable bottles are common in developing countries. Yes, making them is
relatively expensive. In order for reusable bottles to make economic sense, as
well as render environmental benefits, they must be reused several times. In
developing countries, such as Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines, bottlers
have developed the necessary infrastructure and procedures to encourage their
reuse. Often, when you purchase a soda or beer in many developing countries,
you pay not only for the liquid but also for the bottle. In some cases the
price of the bottle is twice that of the liquid. When you return the empty
refillable bottle to the store you get your money back. Thus, a powerful
incentive exists for people to return the empty bottle to be reused. In
Mexico, for instance, refillable bottles can be reused up to
30 times. When you purchase many sodas (or beer) you have the option of
buying a case and it works as follows: you bring to the store the reusable
case holding the empty bottles and the store gives you a different case with
your drinks.
Delivery trucks in developing countries, once they have delivered their
product to each store take back to their plants the empty bottles to be washed
and reused.
Developing countries have developed an efficient system that makes
environmental and economic sense. Can't U.S. bottlers, with their ingenuity
and resources, develop a system to reuse bottles?
Throw away bottles were developed without consideration for their
environmental impact and when resources seemed infinite. We need to return to
using refillable bottles, a practice that was common in this country in the

Martin Medina


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #36