Beyond Toxics does not shy away from tough issues. It takes time, tenacity and creativity to solve problems. For example, we are in our second year of fighting to stop the use of chlorpyrifos in Oregon. We’ve presented two bills that got caught up and swept away by the Republican walk-outs in 2019 and 2020. We followed that with a campaign for a chlorpyrifos phase-out that we expect to be adopted by the end of this year.
We’ve arrived at a moment when an agreement between corporate timber representatives and environmental health and forest protection defenders has been brokered. Perspectives on the value of such an agreement run the gamut, from Governor Brown’s pronouncement of “historic” to the angry claim of “shameless” by social media users. Beyond Toxics came at this with extreme caution because we understand the risks of compromise. We had to evaluate what was lost as a trade for benefits that move the marker closer to our goals: those of non toxic communities and healthy forest ecosystems.
Over the past few months The Register-Guard has held a back-and-forth debate about Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio’s plan to increase logging in Oregon’s federal forests.
What’s at stake? Nothing less than the future of Oregon’s clean-flowing drinking water.
Our groundbreaking work centers on bringing the voices of Oregonians to the forefront of policy reform. We help people who want to speak “ground-truthing” to power; in other words, using their real experiences to expose corporate financed and secret backroom deals that allow industry polluters to mislead and harm the public.
I wish all of you reading this blog here were sitting with me as I write. Together we would mourn this week’s release of the report, Exposure Investigation: Biological Monitoring for Exposure to Herbicides in the Highway 36 Corridor. The report contains vague statistics about ways the government can “normalize” pesticide detections in our bodies.
A nearby neighbor who has a house on the shores of Triangle Lake heard the loudspeaker from the Chemical Witness Rally, and wandered over to see what was going on. What she found was an open microphone at the lakeshore park, a place and time for people to speak to their personal experience about being harmed by pesticides.
As a result of an Register-Guard guest editorial last month, I sparked a firestorm of controversy proposing something simple and obvious: we should speak up if our government tries to convince the public not to worry about finding dangerous pesticides in the bodies of children who live in rural Oregon.
The Oregon Pesticide Action Workgroup, a project led by Beyond Toxics, has put out a Statement of Principles: The Pesticide Reform Guiding Principles. The statement reflects many experienced grassroots voices and years of experience drawing public attention to the dangers of pesticides in our environment and in our bodies.