WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Portland area lawmakers take aim at lax state aerial spraying in logged areas

Herbicide spraying helo OR Dept. of Ag photo

Herbicide spraying helo
OR Dept. of Ag photo


Creek for homes drinking water has very thin buffer from herbicide sprays. Courtesy photo

Creek for homes drinking water has very thin buffer from herbicide sprays.
Courtesy photo

A couple of Portland area lawmakers say they’re introducing legislation to put tighter regulations on herbicide and pesticide spraying aircraft that many say spray with virtual impunity – causing residents and their pets on the ground to suffer. One lawmaker claimed that Oregon has the weakest spraying regulations in the west – affording more protection for fish than for people. He said that Oregon’s spraying regulations are long overdue for an upgrade.

But timber industry representatives and chemical companies claim Oregon’s spray regulations are plenty effective just the way they are – as long as they are applied properly.

But state agents who are in charge of seeing that those protocols are followed are themselves closely tied to the timber industry and recommend where sprays should be applied to maximize tree growth.

The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.

We also received some comments from others who obviously are following this regulatory issue very closely.

A member of Occupy Newport offered these observations on the new SB 613 being proposed by the Portland area lawmakers:

Senate Bill 613 establishes:

– Wider buffers for fish-bearing streams (we don’t know how wide yet). So far, Oregon has had far narrower buffers (60 ft) than Washington, Idaho, and California.
– An online spray notification system, which obligates the spraying company to also notify the public of any changes in spraying schedules. There has been no obligation to notify the public so far, and therefore no protection spray drift for people who live near industrial forest areas.
– Buffers around homes and schools. There have been none up until now.
– Regulations on slash burning. Burning releases toxic substances into the air and has not been regulated so far.

Senate Bill 613 does nothing about:

– The fact that our government allows poison to be introduced into our soil air, and water in massive amounts in order to increase the profits of the chemical and timber industry, and at the expense of our health. Buffers may delay contamination of the streams where they exist, but do not prevent it. Non-fish bearing streams have no buffers in Oregon, and their water flows into fish-bearing streams.
– An online spray notification system will be helpful to people at risk of being sprayed during normally conducted spray operations, but it will not prevent spray from drifting out of targeted areas, nor will it prevent helicopters from flying and spraying outside of those areas by mistake or due to neglect.
– The timber industry can still make profits if competing vegetation is removed manually. Just not as much profit.
– Herbicides do not help trees grow. They are poisons, and kill the competing vegetation. Conifers are resistant to them.
– Pesticides contaminate our soil, poison wildlife forage, degrade the soil.
– Are we to stand by passively while our elected government pawns our health and that our ecosystems in exchange for industry’s profits? Can this be considered OUR government?

Maria Kraus
Occupy Newport

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