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Depoe Bay Mayor Barbara Leff and her city council demand an end to chemical spraying near the town’s water supply

Spray area adjacent to a Depoe Bay neighborhood and the town’s primary source of drinking water.
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Upon learning that a large timber company was about to begin chemical spraying on a clear cut hilltop overlooking the city’s water reservoir, Depoe Bay Mayor Barbara Leff and her city council sent a letter to the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Environment Quality, asking that the spraying not move forward until more is known about the cocktail of chemicals that will be used in the spray operations. Mayor Leff said….

“This ‘cocktail’ of chemicals has never been tested for their toxicity in aggregate,” Mayor Barbara Leff wrote. “This information is essential to any assessment of the environmental and human health effects of the proposed spraying. We therefore are also requesting a postponement of the spraying project until Hancock, Oregon Department of Forestry or Oregon DEQ provide us with peer-reviewed data on the environmental and human health effects of the eight products (including both active and “inert” ingredients) in combination with each other and in total mixture that Hancock Forest Management is planning to spray.”

A list of the chemicals to be used in the spraying operations above the city’s drinking water reservoir were listed in a Hancock letter to the city as:

* Atrazine * Heazinone * Oxyfluorfen
* Glyphosate * Indaziflam
* 2,4-D * Clopyralid
* Clopyralid * Penoxsulam

Below is Mayor Leff’s letter to Department of Forestry

Kyle Williams
Department of Forestry
763 NW Forestry Rd.
Toledo Oregon 97391
kwilliams@odf.state.or.us.

April 5, 2017

Dear Mr. Williams:

We urgently ask you to delay the planned start to the Hancock Forest Management backpack spraying operation next to our water reservoir and salmon bearing streams (operation Depoed Again, VZ77711, 9s11w5). We also request a wider no-spray buffer area around the salmon bearing streams and water reservoir.

Depoe Bay City Superintendent Brady Weidner received a “voluntary notification” on March 24th of a herbicide spraying operation that could take place starting as early as April 1st and June 30th of this year.

Concerned about the spraying, Brady called Rudy Fradzini in your office to ask for a delay, allowing more time for pre-spray water testing and to inform our citizens. He was told that everything “is being done according to the Oregon Forest Practices Act.” Brady felt that his concerns were being marginalized and that Mr. Fradzini was reading to him from a prepared script.

We hope that you will pay more attention to our very real concerns for the health and safety of our citizens. Please delay the spraying operation to give us more time to inform our citizens of the planned activities and to set up a comprehensive monitoring effort that will help us determine pre-spray and post spray impacts (after the first and second storm events) on our stream network and reservoir.

Depoe Bay’s water is known for its high quality and we want to keep it that way. While we do not doubt that the OFPA rules will be followed, that is little consolation to those of us whose charge it is to protect the public’s health and safety. We know that the Oregon Forest Practices Act is significantly weaker than forest practice regulations regarding both spraying and buffer sizes in both Washington and Idaho, for example. When they work in those states, timber companies, including Hancock, follow those stronger regulations. Why are our citizens and our fish subject to less protection?

It should also be noted that neither the BLM nor Forest Service uses pesticides for timber production on the west coast at all. Additionally no atrazine and no 2,4-D is allowed to be used on Forest Service lands, and no atrazine is allowed to be used on BLM lands for any purpose. If these chemicals are too dangerous to be used on federal lands, why would their use be allowed on lands next to our waters?

We understand that the chemicals Hancock is planning to spray may include: Atrazine, 2,4-D, Glyphosate, Hexasinone, Clopyralid, Penoxsulam, Oxyflourfen, and Indaziflam. This “cocktail” of chemicals has never been tested for their toxicity in aggregate. This information is essential to any assessment of the environmental and human health effects of the proposed spraying. We therefore are also requesting a postponement of the spraying project until Hancock, Oregon Department of Forestry or Oregon DEQ provide us with peer-reviewed data on the environmental and human health effects of the eight products (including both active and “inert” ingredients) in combination with each other and in total mixture that Hancock Forest Management is planning to spray.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Barbara Leff, Mayor
For the City Council
City of Depoe Bay

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Peter Daugherty, State Forester
Tom Imeson, Chairman, Board of Forestry
Senator Arnie Robison
Representative David Gomberg
Board of Commissioners, Lincoln County; Terry Thompson, Chairperson

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