Letter to the Editor: Resident outraged over Newport-Hancock Timber negotiations on Newport’s drinking water
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Newport area residents are shocked that the Newport city government is considering a contract with Hancock Forest Management that would allow pesticide spray over our drinking water reservoir, but here it is.
In the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), yearly discussions would be held with the city, but Hancock “shall not be obligated to modify Hancock’s plans unless required to do so under applicable laws.” This means that the city would have no real voice. It means that Hancock ultimately can do whatever it pleases.
In section 2 Hancock states, “within the Watershed, no aerial spray will be conducted within 1 mile of any legal and/or designated intake or water impoundment.” This is an interesting clause considering aerial spray is currently banned in Lincoln County.. Hancock is reserving the right to return to aerial spraying if the ban is overturned. Is that what we want in this county, let alone our watershed?
It continues, “Hancock and the City will share the cost of water sampling to test for herbicides in the reservoir….” This assumes that water testing is accurate or helpful. It is not. Water samples will not measure dioxins which attach to the sediment. Dioxins are an inevitable contaminant of the chemicals they list to spray. Dioxins are one of the worst chemical criminals on the planet. Once in the system, it lasts longer than plutonium. This is like paying to be poisoned.
Finally, “This MOU does not in any way bind the property managed by Hancock in the Watershed or create any legal obligation on the part of Hancock or Hancock’s clients.” This translates: Hancock does not have to abide by the terms of this contract and cannot be held responsible for their actions. Read, they can’t be sued. There is no such language that protects the city. Hancock might call this a Memorandum of Understanding, but as soon as the signatures are on the paper it is a CONTRACT.
The Newport Director of Public Works, recommends, “… the City Council encourage staff to pursue an MOU with Hancock….” With this MOU, you may as well build a coffin for our reservoir and watershed and hand Hancock the nails.
These documents are public record – Click here. And yet only 20 citizens have written in to say NO PESTICIDES.
Here is the big disconnect. The majority of voters in Lincoln County said clearly recently they were done with pesticides and wanted their water, their homes and their children protected. But this clear mandate has sunk beneath the usual apathy. I understand fear, heartbreak and rage. But I do not understand doing nothing about this.
When will we realize that if we want clean water, we have to fight for it. Activism is not just political activity. It is love in action. Write to City Hall by clicking here. You know your heart says “do it.” Also, attend Monday night’s city council meeting!
Jan Kenyon Newport Resident Lincoln County Community Rights