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Letter to the Editor
From Wallace Kaufman
The result of 21-177, the aerial spray ban, could be more pesticide sprayed on forest lands and more people exposed to higher doses according to Matt Fehrenbacher of Trout Mountain Forestry.
During his talk to the MidCoast Watersheds Council Thursday night, someone asked his opinion of 21-177.
Fehrenbacher, who manages some 7,000 acres of Van Eck Forest Trust lands in Lincoln County, said they never used aerial spray on that land because clearings were limited to 20 acres. But they do have to spray from the ground.
Fehrenbacher, who has also worked with aerial spray, said that hand spraying was more expensive, applied more chemicals than aerial spray, and exposed more people to those chemicals.
At least one knowledgeable local attorney, not part of the Watersheds meeting, says that now 21-177 is county law, the commissioners can make any amendments they feel necessary.
A local berry grower said he had heard that the commissioners planned to engage the public in a discussion of 21-177. One of the commissioners asked about this the week before the vote said, “That’s news to me.”
At this point it seems that the Yes vote on 21-177 will lead to more chemicals being sprayed, more people exposed, and no response from the commissioners.
This seems like the right time for all the interested parties to get together and propose a menu of forest and farm practices that might address the unintended consequences of the vote.