State levies $700,000 in penalties for unregistered pesticides
July 26, 2006
• Estimates that $34M sold improperly
• State audits to continue
There was a total of more than $34 million in unreported pesticide sales in California during the fiscal year ended June 30, the Department of Pesticide Regulation says.
The state has levied more than $700,000 in back payments and penalties from pesticide dealers and retailers that did not pay environmental fees on these pesticide sales.
DPR audits are part of an ongoing campaign to assure that pesticide sellers compete fairly and environmental programs are fully funded, says DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "Every dollar of pesticide fees that goes unpaid hurts our efforts to protect the public, and it also hurts law-abiding businesses with unfair competition."
Some results from latest audits, according to DPR:
• Terminix, a pest control company and a unit of ServiceMaster Co. (NYSE: SVM), recently paid fees and late penalties of more than $283,000, based on unreported sales of more than $12.8 million since 2003. (In 2004, Terminix paid DPR nearly $241,000 for similar, previous violations.)
• Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD), a retail drug chain, owes nearly $38,000 in fees and penalties for unreported sales of nearly $2 million.
• PetSmart Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM), a major pet supply retail chain, this week paid DPR $330,000 to bring the company into compliance.
Meanwhile, DPR continues negotiations with giant national retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which recently settled a case involving sales of four unregistered products for more than $64,000.
Wal-Mart has now provided DPR a master list of all pesticide products sold by its California stores, and the retailer says it has taken steps to ensure that its suppliers pay all mill fees.
DPR's environmental fee is a 2.1-cent-per-dollar assessment on the first sale of pesticides in California. This mandatory seller fee supports pesticide enforcement, health and safety, and other DPR environmental programs.