WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Hancock tells Depoe Bay Barbara Leff: They won’t spray presticides uphill from your drinking water reservoir

Spray area adjacent to a Depoe Bay neighborhood and the town’s primary source of drinking water.
Google Maps

Depoe Bay Mayor Barbara Leff says that Hancock Timber Company will not spray pesticides near the town’s drinking water intake. Hancock recently clear-cut the entire top of the mountain that overlooks a portion of Depoe Bay and their water reservoir specifically. Leff says Hancock has also agreed they will call Mayor Leff to discuss any further use of pesticides in the uphill area above the town’s drinking water reservoir. Leff says the agreements mean no pesticide spraying on hillsides that are part of Depoe Bay’s watershed.

Supporters of Measure 21-177 were quick to respond to Hancock’s announcement:

Implications of Hancock’s decision not to spray its clear-cut along Depoe Bay’s drinking water reservoir.

Hancock’s decision to abandon plans to spray the clear-cut that borders on Depoe Bay’s drinking water reservoir is commendable. It is also a tacit admission that the timber company cannot provide studies that determine that the herbicides intended for backpack spraying of the area (Atrazine, 2,4-D, Glyphosate, Hexazinone, Clopyralid, Penoxsulam, Oxifluorfen, Indaziflam ) are harmless either independently or in combination with each other, as requested by the mayor of Depoe Bay. These pesticides, listed in their Spray Notification, are also used in aerial spraying.

Hancock’s admission also exposes the lies of the Coalition to Defeat Measure 21-177, who claims that the pesticides and herbicides they use are harmless, strictly regulated and monitored. They know that regulations protect their business, but not the people and wildlife. So do all those who have jumped on their bandwagon of misinformation spread to distract the public from the serious health risks affecting the population of Lincoln County and its ecosystems as a result of aerial spraying, including our County Commissioners, the Newport City Council (with the exception of Wendy Engler ), and Sheriff Landers. The position these officials have taken, based on money-related considerations, is as unethical as the lies spread by the Coalition to Defeat Measure 21-177, and also contrary to their responsibility for the health and safety of the people of Lincoln County.

The clear-cuts surrounding vast portions of the Newport and Yachats Drinking Water Reservoirs are also about to be sprayed. Has any action been taken to address the risk to health and safety of the populations of those cities? The Yachats City Council has endorsed Measure 21-177 and expressed its deep concern over the threat to its drinking water. Not a word from the Newport City Council on the matter. Doesn’t Hancock’s change of plans regarding Depoe Bay’s drinking water reservoir raise the same questions about Newport’s and Yachats’ Drinking Water Reservoirs?

What about all the people in the county who live near clear-cuts, or at the very base of them? Is there no obligation to protect them? Mike Olson and Sherry Wilmsen, to name just two examples, live by milepost 6 of the Siletz Highway (Highway 229). They have several neighbors that share their circumstances. They face a huge, 2-year old clear-cut on the opposite side of the highway that has not yet been replanted. Most of the thin alder stand left along the highway blew over the first winter following the clear-cut. Mike Olson’s drinking water comes from a well on his property. It is inevitable that contaminated run-off from rainstorms flowing down the clear-cut hillside will seep under the highway and poison his well once spraying takes place. Sherry Wilmsen’s drinking water comes from a spring that originates in the clear-cut to be sprayed. Two more people use water from the same spring. Clearly, that water will be contaminated also. The above well and spring are the only drinking water sources these people have. The same situation repeats itself in many other locations throughout the county. What recourse is available to these people and to the many other people who need to protect themselves, their families, and their animals in this and in other locations at risk from pesticides throughout the county?

Vote yes on Measure 21-177! Ban aerial pesticide and herbicide spraying in Lincoln County!

Maria Sause
Citizens for a Healthy County

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