Getting down for bees with jazz music, wine and food has everything to do with being a bee protector! We are celebrating bees with a fantastically fun event, but we aren’t joking about the real peril for pollinators. Bees are not safe in Oregon, or anywhere else in America. Eight species of native bees have very recently been put on the US Endangered Species List and are at the mercy of the Trump Administration.
I’m writing this from the bedside of my childhood friend who grew up on the same street as I. Ten days ago she was fine. Today she is transitioning to her passing. Her breathing is ragged, her eyes are unfocused. Her doctors at Stanford University Medical Center told the family they have never seen such a rare and aggressive cancer. They can’t stop it, they can’t even slow it down.
Cancer. Linked to environmental pollution from toxic chemicals and poisonous pesticides.
Senator Michael Dembrow first championed the rights of rural Oregonians in the matter of aerial herbicide spray exposures in 2014. As Chair of the Senator Environment and Natural Resources Committee, he convened a public information hearing in Dec. 2014 and hosted residents from Curry, Douglas and Lane counties to offer testimony of their experiences with pesticide drift from aerial herbicide spray operations on timber land. For the current legislative session, Senator Dembrow is the bill sponsor of SB 892, a bill that would require advanced warning before an aerial spray and the filing of complete spray records with the Dept of Forestry.
It is all of our duty to hold our elected leaders accountable for actions that put the health of our communities at risk. Beyond Toxics has been working for 4 years to bring sound scientific reporting and analysis of forestry pesticide applications into the decision-making processes at our state capitol.
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) did an investigative report and found that the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) suppressed a scientific water quality assessment by the Department of Environmental Quality.
All communities need their voices heard and their rightful place in the decisions to strengthen Oregon’s air quality laws. In order to be effective advocates for their own communities and their families’ health, impacted residents need accurate and complete data about toxic pollutants in the Air.
The following letter was submitted on Jan. 10 & 11 to legislators to let them know the will of communities and to ask them to commit to strong toxics reporting laws. Good air follows from accurate data, strong policy and regulations.
Healthy air should be a basic right, but all over the world, people face exposure to toxins that remain unregulated and dangerous. It’s important that the public becomes more educated about these toxins, both in the natural environment and those hidden in consumer products or construction materials within our own homes. With better awareness and education, we can reduce the health risks these toxins pose, and help change the laws that allow the presence of toxic chemicals.
The Register Guard published a Nov. 30 guest viewpoint written by former Lane County Commissioner, Anna Morrison, who no longer lives in Oregon. Displaying her ignorance, she suggested that aerial pesticide sprays are nothing to worry about.
If Morrison had done her homework about aerial sprays, she could have started with Arizona, her new home state.
Portland Clean Air is releasing today a new report calling into question the validity of Oregon’s air permitting system. The study, A Comparison of Toxic Chemical Use by Permit Type in Multnomah and Washington County, looks at toxic chemicals used by manufacturers in Multnomah and Washington Counties that are reported to the State Fire Marshall and compares them to those reported to air regulators. The study demonstrates that up to 95% of hazardous chemical usage is by industries that do not report their hazardous air pollution to a regulatory authority.
Governor Kate Brown initiated the Cleaner Air Oregon campaign after state agencies discovered that glass makers were the source of heavy metals – arsenic, cadmium, nickel and chromium – impacting nearby neighborhoods in Portland. Toxics heavy metals were found in the air and in the soil, including the soil of home gardens. Children were taken to doctors to have their blood tested for heavy metals known to cause cancer and neurological impairment. Residents were warned against eating their own homegrown vegetables! Indeed, Oregon has an air quality crisis due to a long history of lax regulations and negligible enforcement.