EPA Seeks $70,400 Fine From Onion Grower In Yerington, Nev.

Federal environmental regulators are seeking up to $70,400 in civil penalties from a northern Nevada onion grower accused of violating federal pesticide law through improper and unsafe use of the chemicals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in San Francisco filed the complaint today. It cites Nevada Onion of Yerington for 64 alleged violations of the federal Worker Protection Standard.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during an August 2007 inspection prompted by reports of field workers seeking medical attention for significant injuries, allegedly resulting from pesticide exposure.

The EPA said Nevada Onion misused the pesticides during numerous applications throughout 2007 on its fields in Lyon County about 80 miles southeast of Reno.

EPA says the company failed to comply with label directions requiring that workers be notified of recent pesticide applications on particular fields to minimize the risk of exposure. It also failed to make sure that decontamination supplies would be available to workers if there is exposure.