Aerial Spray Reform

——3 TIMBER SPRAY-RELATED BILLS——

For a succinct explanation of why we need this legislation, please read Lisa Arkin’s January 2017 blog, “Oregon Forestry Agency Suppresses Science.”

SB 892 (below) SB 500 SB 499

The Timber Aerial Spray Right to Know bill – SB 892

SB 892 | Summary: Requires filing notice with State Forestry Department of proposed aerial application of pesticide as planned forest management activity on privately owned forestland. | The original bill as introduced->> | -1 amendment->>

Statement of the problem
In Oregon, the law allows industrial timber companies to use helicopters to spray herbicides from the air throughout timberland. Until 2015 Oregon had no protective no-spray buffer zone to protect people and pets on their home property or children at schools. Also, under Oregon law, aerial spray applicators don’t have to provide records of their pesticide use, which leaves agencies and the public unable to monitor the impacts of chemical use in forestry.

After a vicious battle at the State Legislature, Beyond Toxics was able to force the State to adopt Oregon’s first-ever no spray zone to protect human health. New rules require a 60 ft. no-spray zone for homes and school buildings. Truly, this was a hard-fought outcome, but it is barely a band aid on a major hemorrhage. What’s needed is to ban aerial sprays on timber lands because of the extreme risk to human health, drinking water purity and impacts to wildlife.

The 2015 Legislature also refused to pass a law requiring the Dept. of Forestry to provide timely notification to residents, schools, medical and public facilities prior to aerial pesticide applications on nearby industrial timber land. Oregonians need timely notification to protect their children, pets, livestock, gardens and drinking water.

SOLUTION
Until Oregon acts to ban aerial sprays, we must ensure the Legislature provides as many protections as possible to people impacted by aerial sprays. Oregon can help vulnerable rural families now by passing SB 892!

The Benefits of SB 892

SB 892 fixes two problems:
• ADVANCED WARNING FOR AERIAL SPRAYS: Rural residents need a warning prior to an aerial spray. A warning will help residents ensure the safety of their family, pets, livestock and gardens. E-warnings can be issued by the FERNS Notification system, a web-based, centralized database of all forestry operations managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The FERNS system can send out e-notifications to anyone requesting timely notification.

• REPORTING PESTICIDE USE: SB 892 requires a spray applicator to file spray records with the Dept. of Forestry within five days following a spray operation. The proposed rule is necessary because Oregonians have the right to know the extent of herbicide use in our watersheds, habitat lands and communities. Better communication would allow impacted communities and agencies to work collaboratively to minimize risk. Requiring the Spray Record uses existing regulatory infrastructure, such as FERNS and mandatory spray record keeping.

Introduced by Senator Michael Dembrow

ALSO:

Legislators who support it:
Chief Sponsors: Senator Michael Dembrow – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1723 | Email
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Paul Holvey – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1408 | Email

TAKE ACTION

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1) Attend the HEARINGS:

The first hearing for 2 of our bills: SB 892 (Notification bill), SB 500 (Report of Loss bill) is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22nd at 3 PM in front of the Senate Committee On Environment and Natural ResourcesHearing Room C in the Capitol Building in Salem.

2) Make phone calls or send emails in support:

SEND A RAPID RESPONSE TARGETED LETTER: All Oregonians deserve to receive advance notice of aerial herbicide spray!

OR…send your own emails! (See “Sample Phone Scripts and Sample Email Text” below.)
If you send your own emails…

…you must send a letter to this email address for it to be uploaded to the Committee’s central OLIS document and considered by the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources: senr.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.

…you can also send individual emails to all 5 members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to urge their strong support for BOTH SB 892 (Notification bill) and SB 500 (Report of Loss bill).

Chair: Senator Michael Dembrow – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1723 | Email
Vice-Chair: Senator Alan Olsen – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720 | Email
Member: Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr. – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1702 | Email
Member: Senator Floyd Prozanski – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1704 | Email
Member: Senator Arnie Roblan – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1705 | Email

Don’t forget to also write your own state legislators and urge their support. If you’d like to contact your state Senator (Senate) or Representative (House), but are unsure of who represents you, please look them up here: Find Your Oregon Legislator.

Sample Phone Scripts and Sample Email Text

Key point #1: The Oregon Legislature has stalled for too many years to take steps to help rural people get protection from aerial sprays. It is unethical for the Legislature to stall any longer.

• The Oregon Department of Forestry has the technological capacity to send out advanced alerts 1 or 2 days prior to an aerial or ground spray.
• ODF also has the technology to collect the spray data from the applicators by having them upload their spray records to the FERNS database. With technology at hand, there is no reason not to adopt the state policy to carry this out.
• A timber spray warning and spray data is so easy to do = Please just do it!

Sample Letter:

Dear Chair Dembrow and Members of the Senate Environment Committee,

I support the passage of SB 892 because it is will help rural residents have some modicum of protection against being caught outside when there is a nearby aerial spray. With modern technology that our state agencies already have, this is both simple and ethical. Please pass SB 892 with a strong recommendation for adoption!

Key point #2: Rural Communities need good data to protect Oregon’s environment.

• Data adds the greatest value added to environmental health because for the first time, ODF and DEQ would be able to better assess what is happening with the fate of chemicals in our fish streams and drinking water sources.
• Governor Brown issued a statement that calls out the need to better understand pollution in urban and residential communities. Hey – what about rural communities!? Are we beneath the Governor’s notice? We need data about the pollution that may impact our residential properties, family members, pets and animals. We need to be notified before an aerial spray.
• The best way to follow the Governor’s recommendation is to provide rural communities with exact and verifiable pesticide usage information. Governor Brown supports “providing Oregon families ready access to information about emissions near their homes.”
• Oregon communities deserve full public engagement grounded in factual information that we can access in a straightforward manner.
• Access to reliable information informs community-level participation in decision-making about the livability of our neighborhoods.

Sample Letter:

Dear Chair Dembrow and Members of the Senate Environment Committee,

Please support the passage of SB 892. Governor Brown issued a statement that calls out the need to better understand pollution in urban residential communities. Hey – what about rural communities!? Are we beneath the Governor’s notice? The Governor initated Cleaner Air Oregon, but what about Cleaner Water Rural Oregon? Are we beneath the Legislature’s notice? We also need data about the pollution that may impact our residential properties, family members, pets and animals. We need to be notified before an aerial spray.

This is about the right to private property and not having property trespass. If aerial herbicide spray is as safe as they say, why not alert us and let us know what is being sprayed? No harm – no foul, right?

Please allow a citizens’ fundamental right to know the identity and amounts of toxic chemicals that are released into the air and water near their homes and their community.

———————————end sample scripts/email text

ALSO:

RESOURCES:
See more about our Forestry Pesticide Project

Report of Loss bill – SB 500

SB 500 | Bill Title: Relating to reports of loss arising from pesticides. | State of Oregon page
Summary: Eliminates requirement to timely report to State Department of Agriculture loss arising out of use or application of pesticide before commencing action to recover for loss. | The bill as introduced->>

Statement of the problem
Currently, persons experiencing harm, loss or damage from another person’s use of a pesticide have only 60 days to file a Report of Loss form to submit to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. If the form is not filed within 60 days, an Oregon resident loses their right to take their property damage case to court. The form requires specific information about the spray incident including details pertaining to the pesticide applicator and the chemicals that were used. Oftentimes a person experiencing harm or loss from pesticide exposure may not have the necessary information to file the Report of Loss within the brief 60-day time frame, or may not immediately understand the nature of the harm. As is often the case, they must wait for the completion of agriculture state agency report – the Oregon Department of Agriculture or an Oregon Department of Forestry of an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality – investigation report, which can take as long as six or eight months.

SOLUTION
Other states such as Idaho and Washington do not require a Report of Loss form to be filed within a 60-day deadline. Our Legislature should modernize Oregon law to match other Northwest states by removing this onerous burden of a short statute of limitations for pesticide loss. Oregonians should not be prevented from seeking relief from harm in a court of law while waiting for the completion of an agency’s investigation report. Oregonians should not be subject to onerous limitations and barriers they would not face if they lived in Washington or Idaho.

What the bill does
The proposed bill language, verbatim from the Washington statutory code on the Report of Loss, would state:

The filing of a report, or the failure to file a report, need not be alleged in any complaint, filed in a court of law. The failure to file the report shall not be considered a bar to the maintenance of any criminal or civil action.

Legislators who support it:

SB 500 | Bill Title: Relating to reports of loss arising from pesticides.
Chief Sponsors:
Senator Michael Dembrow

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1) Attend the HEARINGS:

The first hearing for 2 of our bills: SB 892 (Notification), SB 500 (Report of Loss bill) is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22nd at 3 PM in front of the Senate Committee On Environment and Natural ResourcesHearing Room C in the Capitol Building in Salem.

2) Make phone calls or send emails in support:

SEND A RAPID RESPONSE TARGETED LETTER: All Oregonians deserve to receive advance notice of aerial herbicide spray!

OR…send your own emails! (See “Sample Email Text” below.)
If you send your own emails…

…you must send a letter to this email address for it to be uploaded to the Committee’s central OLIS document and considered by the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources: senr.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.

…you can also send individual emails to all 5 members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to urge their strong support for BOTH SB 892 (Notification bill) and SB 500 (Report of Loss bill).

Chair: Senator Michael Dembrow – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1723 | Email
Vice-Chair: Senator Alan Olsen – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720 | Email
Member: Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr. – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1702 | Email
Member: Senator Floyd Prozanski – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1704 | Email
Member: Senator Arnie Roblan – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1705 | Email

ALSO: Don’t forget to also write your own state legislators and urge their support. If you’d like to contact your state Senator (Senate) or Representative (House), but are unsure of who represents you, please look them up here: Find Your Oregon Legislator.

Sample Email Text

Key point #1: Oregon requires a person to file a Report of Loss form. But only gives people 60-days from the day of a spray incident to get that form filed. That is not enough time.

Sample Email:

Dear Senator Dembrow and Environmental and Natural Resources Committee members,

Oregon has a ridiculously short window of time for a person who believes they have been harmed by pesticides to file a report of loss. Oregon cuts it off at 60 days. Why? Other states such as Idaho and Washington do not require a Report of Loss form to be filed within a 60-day deadline. The Report of Loss is not the necessary “ticket” for a person experiencing harm or loss from pesticides to seek redress in court.

Sometimes an agency needs time to complete their investigation so that the injured party has the proper information to file the Report of Loss. Oregonians should not be penalized for waiting for the completion of an agency’s investigation report to file a Report of Loss form. Oregonians should not be subject to onerous barriers they would not face if they lived in Washington or Idaho.

Please support SB 500, which would make the statute of limitations that same as any other claim, and not subject to the narrow 60-day window currently in place.

Key point #2: People who experience illness from an aerial spray need time to figure out what is going on.

Sample Email:

Dear Senator Dembrow and Environmental and Natural Resources Committee members,

I have known people who were made ill by exposure to pesticides. Many of these chemicals are neurotoxins, meaning that they affect the central nervous system. They can cause blurred eyesight, dizziness, vertigo, vomiting and foggy thinking. These symptoms can last days or weeks depending on the severity of exposure. A person may not be in any shape to be thinking about filing a Report of Loss form!

Please extend the period of time from 60-days. And let’s not tie the Report of Loss form to allowing a person to proving their case in court. The two concepts should not be tied together. Only Oregon does that kind of thing, not states like Washington and Idaho. It is time to change our policy.

————————————————————end sample text——————————

RESOURCES:

Human Health Criteria – SB 499

SB 499 | Bill Title: Relating to actions based on farming or forest practices.
Summary: Creates exceptions to limitation on liability for certain farming and forest practices for actions for serious harm to human health and loss of use of residential property or domestic drinking water. | The bill as introduced->>

Legislators who support it:

Chief Sponsors:
name – Capitol Phone: 503-986-0000 | Email

Co-Sponsors:
name – Capitol Phone: 503-986-0000 | Email

Hearings:
There are no hearings scheduled yet for SB 499. Email us and let us know if you would like to be kept informed about the progress of this bill.

RESOURCES:

 


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