Non-profit

Pesticide Watch

Website:

pesticidewatch.org

Location:

DENVER, CO

Tax ID:

77-0208947

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Founded:

1991

Type:

Pesticide opposition

President/CEO:

Dan Jacobson

Pesticide Watch is a left-leaning advocacy group that opposes the use of pesticides. In 2014, it argued against using pesticides to fight mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus. [1]

Pesticide Watch worked with other advocacy groups fighting the use of modern agricultural tools and encouraging left-of-center ordinances and legislation, mostly between the years of 2008 and 2014. Persons associated with Pesticide Watch have associations with groups in the Public Interest Network of left-of-center advocacy groups.

Background

Pesticide Watch received tax exempt status in 1991 and was originally located in Sacramento, California. It has since relocated to Denver, Colorado. Starting in 2004, the group’s assets consistently hovered around $100,000 (with the exception of the “accounts receivable” issue noted below). Tax returns for 2004 through 2007 show annual revenues of $4,000 or less, and usually less than $1000. For 2008, the nonprofit reported revenue of $10,400. [2] [3] [4]

In the 2006 tax return, Pesticide Watch reported a donation of $155,757.25 on the “indirect public support” line of its revenue report, and then later on the balance sheet a $155,610.39 “allowance for doubtful accounts.” The $155,610.39 figure continued to be listed as an “asset” under “accounts receivable” on the 2007 and 2008 reports. It is unclear from the reports why this alleged public support remained uncollected for several years, nor why the group believed it was owed the payment. [5]

From 2010 and continuing until at least 2019, Pesticide Watch filed a 990-N “e-Postcard” tax return, indicating that its revenues did not exceed $50,000 for those years. [6] As of November 2021, the group appears to have been inactive for at least six years, with its last Facebook post occurring in July 2014. [7]

Activism

Agriculture Subsidies and Regulation

Pesticide Watch regularly supported actions of the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). [8] This included a petition that requested that then-Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) support legislation that prevented cuts to farming subsidies, increased subsidies to farmers of socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and forced all farms receiving government subsidies to comply with soil erosion and wetland protection requirements, regardless of size or income. [9]

West Nile Virus Controversy

In 2014, with Californians for Pesticide Reform, Pesticide Watch led a campaign against pesticide use in to eradicate mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus. [10]

The West Nile Virus is a potentially fatal virus that attacks the nervous system. It is transmitted by mosquitoes throughout the Western United States. In 2014, the California infection rate more than doubled, compared to the previous year. [11]

Personnel

From 2011 until August 2014, Michael Somers was the state director for Pesticide Watch. [12]

Jeanne Merrill worked as Pesticide Watch’s program director starting in 1995. Later becoming a campaigner for Greenpeace, she now works as policy director for the California Climate and Agriculture Network. [13]

From 2010 until at least 2019,  Dan Jacobson was listed on tax returns as the president of Pesticide Watch. [14] He was also the Senior Advisor for Environment California. [15] Jacobson has filed the IRS returns for Pesticide Watch with the same address as Environment America, the parent organization to Environment California. [16] [17] [18] Jacobson has been outspoken on his distrust of federal legislation for environmental activism, and has encouraged people to pressure state and city officials to enact laws quickly, bypassing deliberation Jacobson sees as a waste of time. [19]

Paul Schramski Towers served as state director of Pesticide Watch from 2007 to 2011 and operated as a press contact after Somers became state director. While the press contact, Towers also worked as a policy advocate for PANNA. He subsequently became the executive director for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Under Towers’ leadership the group supported California State Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton). [20] [21]

Nickolas Saylor was listed as the principal officer in 2018 (though is not mentioned elsewhere in tax documentation). Saylor worked as director for the Fund for the Public Interest, and prior to joining Pesticide Watch canvassed for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). [22]

References

  1. Ortiz, Edward. “Dispute aired over Sacramento County spraying of West Nile-targeting pesticide.” Sacramento Bee. July 22, 2014. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article2604501.html ^
  2. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2010 to 2019. ^
  3. “Farm Workers & Communities Fight New Strawberry Pesticide.” Pesticide Watch Newsletter. Winter 2010. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://pesticidewatch.org/sites/default/files/PW_NewsLetter_W10_R2.pdf ^
  4. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2004 to 2008. ^
  5. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2004 to 2008. ^
  6. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2010 to 2019. ^
  7. “Pesticide Watch.” Facebook. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/Pesticide-Watch-100258476687015/ ^
  8. “FINAL Chlorpyrifos Organizational Letter.” Panna.org. January 2014. Accessed 21 October 2021. https://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/FINAL%20Chlorpyrifos%20Organizational%20Letter%20012714.pdf ^
  9. “November15Becerraletterfinal.” Panna.org. November 2011. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/November15BecerraletterFINAL.pdf ^
  10.  [1] Ortiz, Edward. “Dispute aired over Sacramento County spraying of West Nile-targeting pesticide.” Sacramento Bee. July 22, 2014. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article2604501.html ^
  11. “Neglected Tropical Diseases “West Nile Virus in California, 2003-2018: A persistent threat.” PLOS Journal. November 2020. Accessed 22 October 2021. https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008841 ^
  12.  Michael Somers.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed 19 Oct 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-somers-72044928/ ^
  13. “Jeanne Merrill.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed 22 October 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanne-merrill-9b3b091/ ^
  14. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2010 to 2019. ^
  15. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2010 to 2019. ^
  16.  Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990O), 2007. ^
  17. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990-N), 2010 to 2019. ^
  18. Pesticide Watch, Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990O), 2019. ^
  19. “Dan Jacobson – Legislative Director of Environment California.” Youtube.com. May 2014. Accessed 21 October 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmXsHiwo4I ^
  20. “Sustainable Farmland Strategy Act (AB 1961) Introduced to Preserve Farmland.” Californiaagtoday.com. 2016. Accessed 23 October 2021. ^
  21. “Paul Towers.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-towers-5859b09/ ^
  22. “Nickolas Saylor.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed 20 October 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickolas-saylor-223aa3a4/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Justin Ruben
    Former Community Organizer
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1990

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Pesticide Watch

    1543 WAZEE ST STE 400
    DENVER, CO 80202-1450