Take action to ban tree-killing pesticide, ACP

Photo by Lisa Arkin

Tell Oregon Department of Agriculture to Ban ACP, a Tree-Killing Pesticide

An entire old-growth tree ecosystem is suffering. Even at minute levels, run-off and spray drift from using Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) kills trees. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has the opportunity to lead the country in banning this inherently dangerous chemical. According to ODA, nearly 1,500 dead or dying trees have been reported along Oregon’s iconic US Highway 20, home to majestic, old-growth ponderosa pines. Many of these 150 to 300-year old trees are now dead from ACP exposure. Worse, the U.S. Forest Service plans to cut down 2100 trees that are dead, dying or herbicide-stressed. These trees have been poisoned to the point that they are now considered hazardous materials that can’t be left on the forest floor! The ODA indicated that “because [ACP] is a relatively new herbicide it is unknown how many trees stressed from past applications of [ACP] will die in the future.”

See also, Lisa Arkin’s blogs, “How old growth Ponderosa pine trees became hazardous waste” and “Central Oregon’s high desert beauty at risk from herbicide abuse.

Tell Oregon’s Department of Agriculture to make Oregon a national leader by completely banning the use of ACP.

In 2014, DuPont chemical company settled a nearly $2 million lawsuit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after the herbicide (under the brand name Imprelis®) was found to kill trees at golf courses, homeowners associations, businesses, and private residences. Despite this history, regulators left ACP on the market. Its use was banned on lawns and turfgrass, but allowed for roadside rights-of-way. A couple years ago, Bayer purchased the rights to ACP from DuPont and continues to sell the chemical under the brand names Perspective®, Method®, Streamline®, and Viewpoint®. It should be no surprise to officials that this tree-killing herbicide is killing trees, but we must now deal with their errors of judgment.

ODA announced late last year that it was temporarily banning the use of ACP on roadsides while it put together a new rule. That rule is now available for public comment. Despite ODA’s temporary ban on roadside uses, Oregon officials stopped short of a complete ban. The new rules allow as many as 242 small diameter applications per square acre and a one-time per year exemption from the ban when spraying an invasive weed in a limited area.

Allowing hundreds upon hundreds of spot sprays in an ecosystem is risky and could lead to more killing of desirable plants. It is clear that there is enough evidence to completely ban the use of this chemical in Oregon.

See “Dead pines drive new herbicide rules in Oregon: A controversial weed-killer has split the state, and pit state regulators against feds” By Carl Segerstrom, High Country News

Tell ODA to strengthen its final rule on ACP and completely ban the chemical from use in the state. Although ODA’s new rule prohibits roadside right-of way spraying, it does not ban all uses of the chemical. In effect, this is simply setting the stage for the next round of news stories picturing ACP-poisoned trees.

At the federal level, Beyond Toxics joined with our partners at the Center for Biological Diversity and Beyond Pesticides to file a Freedom of Information Act request in order to get more information about this tree-killing pesticide. Let’s keep fighting and encourage the state of Oregon to step up and lead the way!

TAKE ACTION to help ban ACP, the tree-killing pesticide that turned 300 year-old trees into hazardous waste. The public comment period is from January 30 to February 26, 2019.

Here are 3 ways to get involved and help protect our forests:

1) Attend one of the ODA hearings and register your demand for a ban of ACP (Aminocyclopyrachlor)

Friday, February 15 – IN BEND
Public Hearing, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Deschutes County Road Department,
61150 SE 27th Street, Bend, OR (google map)

Friday, February 22 – IN SALEM
Public Hearing , 10:00 a.m. – noon, ODA, Hearings Room (basement),
635 Capitol St. NE, Salem, OR (google map)

2) You can also send in written comments:

email Andrea Sonnen at asonnen@oda.state.or.us ;
or mail to:
Andrea Sonnen, Pesticides Program,
Oregon Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol Street NE, Salem, OR 97301

3) ALSO…you can make your voice heard with a single click! Sign our FAST-Response form below…