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Newport Citizens: Your water supply may soon be contaminated with pesticides.
On March 15th, a permit was issued to Hancock Forest Management allowing the backpack spray of herbicides onto land directly over the Newport Reservoir and the creeks that feed it. To be clear, this planned spray is legal. Ordinance 21-177, passed last May, bans only aerial spray of pesticides.
At the April 16th Newport City Council meeting, concerned citizen found that the city has been in negotiations with Hancock to create a Memorandum of Understanding covering many parcels along the Newport watershed. The MOU has not been signed. Yet. The next opportunity for public comment will be at the Newport City Council meeting, May 7th, 6 PM, Newport City Hall.
The actions of the Newport City Council and Hancock Forest Management leave more questions than answers. The March permit declares it is Hancock’s intention to use toxic chemicals. This plan allows drift into residential neighborhoods and run-off into our drinking water.
So, what are the city’s intentions? What is in this memorandum? Where are they in their negotiations? Do we, the citizens, have any real input into what is to happen to our children, elderly, unborn, chemically sensitive and so-far-healthy? Are the real, no-spray alternatives that provide for a healthier eco-system and water quality being considered? We don’t know.
We have a right to transparency when our health is at stake. We have a right to a meaningful voice when it comes to the sanctity of our water. This is not a reality we have to pass on as a legacy to our children. Hancock Timber Management planted older saplings with no spray in a similar situation in Depoe Bay last year.
Coming to the meeting on May 7th will be too late. Please send your comments to the mayor and city council at http://www.newportoregon.gov/common/contacts.asp. Ask for transparency. Ask to be part of the negotiations. Ask that we create a better, safer future.
For more information and updates, go to www.facebook.com/yeson21-177 or www.facebook.com/lccr.
Jan Kenyon Member, Lincoln County Community Rights