For a succinct explanation of why we need this legislation, please read Lisa Arkin’s January 2017 blog, “Oregon Forestry Agency Suppresses Science.”
See the TAKE ACTION section (below)
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->>The Timber Aerial Spray Right to Know bill – SB 892
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.
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
SB 892, the aerial spray advanced notification bill is scheduled for a committee vote this Wednesday at 3 pm! We need your FAST response to convince legislators that this bill deserves to brought to the full Senate.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
SEND A RAPID RESPONSE TARGETED LETTER to all 5 committee members. Tell them “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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
…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.
We also need your brief letter to the editor submitted to your nearest newspaper and the Oregonian! See Let Your Voice Be Heard to get tips on writing letters to the editor (includes a list of local newspapers throughout Oregon).
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!
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.
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—————————————————
- Testimony by Joan Cutuly in favor of SB 892, the Timber Aerial Spray Right-to-Know Bill (PDF)
- Read the 3-22-17 Press Release (PDF)
- See more about our Forestry Pesticide Project
- For a succinct explanation of why we need this legislation, please read Lisa Arkin’s January 2017 blog, “Oregon Forestry Agency Suppresses Science.”
Back to the 2017 Oregon State Legislative Session page to see the overview of all our bills
Won’t you join us in imagining, and working for, a world beyond toxics?
Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!