BREAKING NEWS: Three proposed ballot initiatives to protect public health, clean water, and forests moved one step closer to a statewide vote. Over one thousand signatures were gathered and submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office supporting initiatives changing Oregon’s Forest Practices Act to better protect Oregon’s drinking water from aerial pesticide sprays, and reform other industrial logging practices that threaten public health and safety.
Shawn Donnille, Vice President of the organic products company Mountain Rose Herbs based in Lane County and employing nearly 200, and Kate Taylor, a fishing guide and resident of Tillamook County, have joined a coalition of conservation groups as Chief Petitioners on ballot initiatives asking voters to ban the logging industry’s practice of using helicopters to apply toxic pesticides, and reform other aspects of Oregon’s forest laws. The measures come after an effort to strengthen forestry rules in the 2015 session in Salem failed in the face of well-funded opposition by the logging and pesticide industries, despite public outrage over numerous examples of pesticide sprays contaminating private property and exposing families to cancer-causing chemicals. | MORE->>
Ten Steps You Need to Take When Suspecting Pesticide/Herbicide Drift (PDF)
A New Primer By Lisa Arkin
Our recommendations based on ten years of experience helping communities confront and heal from pesticide exposures…
This Is Our Watershed (5:57)
BELOW…Whistleblower video captures helicopter spraying weed killers on workers: April 26, 2015
(Published on May 21, 2015 on the Oregonian’s YouTube channel)
Darryl Ivy, a truck driver for Applebee Aviation, repeatedly took shelter in his truck to avoid being sprayed with weed killers from a helicopter. This video is one of more than 200 he shot with his phone. – Read the May 20, 2015 Oregonian article, “Whistleblower videos reveal helicopter spraying workers with weed killers”
Drift: A Community Seeking Justice (19:37)
Sign TakePart’s online petition to urge the Oregon’s governor and key Oregon senators to protect Oregon families from exposure to toxic forestry pesticides.
The issue of rural community health and exposure to forestry pesticides in air and drinking water has never been more important. Polling by the Pew Research Center consistently shows that clean water is what matters most to Oregonians.
However, Oregon’s loose and antiquated forestry laws permit the use of herbicides aerially sprayed by helicopter. That’s different from federal logging practices, which banned the use of aerial helicopter spray over twenty years ago.
Beyond Toxics compiled the first in-depth analysis of private, industrial forestry pesticide application records in the State of Oregon. Oregon’s Industrial Forests and Herbicide Use: A Case Study of Risk to People, Drinking Water and Salmon, uses GIS mapping and quantitative measurements to document and discuss primary concerns with the state’s Oregon Forest Practices Act. The data is derived from pesticide spray records obtained from the Highway 36 Corridor Public Health Exposure Investigation. The geographic scope is limited because the Oregon Department of Forestry does not have forestry spray records from any other area in the entire state.
The report is eye-opening on several levels. First, there are known endocrine disrupting chemicals entering our drinking water sources and fish-bearing streams. Secondly, Oregon does not require a no-spray buffer near homes and schools. Also, aerial herbicide sprays regularly occur directly over headwaters and tributaries of protected salmon streams. Oregon permits pesticides to be sprayed with only the smallest protective buffer of 60 feet from salmon and steelhead streams. This buffer is significantly smaller than other Northwest states with similar forest and river ecosystems.
The report also shows that Oregon’s pesticide spray regulations are insufficient compared to Washington and Idaho. Interestingly, the same timber companies operating in Oregon, and claiming that they must have lax environmental protections to profit, own and log forestland in neighboring states requiring more protective regulations. For example, Weyerhaeuser, with its corporate headquarters in Washington, follows stricter chemical rules as required in that state.
Under the current administrative rules, the Oregon Forest Practices Act prohibits researchers, doctors and the public from obtaining accurate information about what types and quantities of herbicides are sprayed. Lack of information prevents timely treatment of pesticide poisoning cases and accurate scientific research.
The report concludes with specific recommendations for modernizing Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. A key recommendation is to simply update Oregon’s rules to match the standards of Washington state, rules that are crafted on science and sensible environmental protections.
- Lisa Arkin’s Letter to the Editor in the Dec. 15th edition of the Eugene Register-Guard: “Strengthen spray protections”
- Read more about the Cedar Valley pesticide spray trespass (including news stories and follow-up articles)
- Read more about the Dec. 2013 Beyond Toxics report, “Oregon’s Industrial Forests and Herbicide Use: A Case Study of Risk to People, Drinking Water and Salmon.”
- Read more about Highway 36/Triangle Lake Area Exposure Investigation
- See the Forestry Pesticides Project Resources page
Won’t you join us in imagining, and working for, a world beyond toxics?
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