State rejects oyster growers’ request to use pesticide

SOUTH BEND, Wash. (AP) — State regulators have denied a request by oyster growers to use a pesticide to control burrowing shrimp in oyster and clam beds in southwest Washington.

The Department of Ecology said Thursday it finalized its decision after receiving thousands of comments.

Ecology said new scientific research confirms that the pesticide imidacloprid would have too much impact on other wildlife and the environment.

It’s a reversal from 2015 when the agency approved a similar permit to the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association saying the pesticide was unlikely to result in significant harm to the environment.

The association withdrew that permit amid public outcry. In 2016, a smaller group of about a dozen oyster growers applied to reinstate the permit, triggering environmental review.

Growers have said that failing to control the shrimp will have a significant impact on the shellfish industry and local economy.