Low-wattage legislators dim the lights on forestry practices reform

A year ago the editors of the Register Guard urged Oregon legislators to “shine a light on forest sprays.” Our low-wattage legislators did the opposite. Today aerial forest spraying continues unabated.

Communities sprayed with poisons remain in the dark while chemical lobbyists hold sway in the offices and back rooms of our legislature. The response from Oregon’s Legislature? No change to Oregon’s infamously outdated and weak Forest Practices Act.

Overspray

Dr. Tom Titus was a guest speaker at the Legislative Briefing Day for SB 613. SB 613 was introduced as the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act in the 2015 Legislature. His presentation on amphibians and herbicide exposure was so informative that we asked him to submit his thoughts for the Beyond Toxics blog.

Dr. Titus wrote the following piece before it was announced that SB 613 was not going to get a hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Senator Chris Edwards.

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Chilling … public health ignored

Over the past year, the issue of exposure to toxic soups of herbicides and other chemicals from aerial helicopter sprays has spurred an outpouring of public indignation! Cases of outright poisoning or suspected harm have been reported in Lane, Curry, Tillamook and Douglas counties.

Portland joins Eugene as one of America's Most Bee-Friendly Cities!

Beyond Toxics’ idea to ask local governments to ban neonicotinoids started in Eugene with our proposal to the City Council. You remember...Eugene became “America’s Most Bee Friendly City!” in the early part of last year. Then the idea spread to Seattle, Spokane and Sacramento, as well as towns in Alaska, Minnesota and other states.

And today, the big news is that the Portland, Oregon has made good on their promise to Protect Portland’s Pollinators!

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Each of us can demand protections from aerial sprays!

On March 12th, Beyond Toxics and our partners in the Oregon Conservation Network hosted the first ever Oregon Legislative Briefing on Herbicides and Health. Over fifty Oregonians came from communities across the state to talk to their legislators about gaps in the Oregon Forest Practices Act that leave homes, schools and drinking water unprotected from pesticide drift, run-off and volatilization.

Hope for sufferers from herbicide drift: Sensible legislation promotes health in forestry practices

Today, the announcement was made that the Oregon Legislature will take up a bill to address forestry chemical use.

Two courageous Oregon legislators, and seven other co-sponsors, filed a bill to protect the health of rural Oregonians living near industrial forests and farm land. When I first read the text of SB 613, the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act, my eyes started to tear up. I thought of the heartbreaking journey that pesticide drift victims have traveled to arrive at this moment.

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My wish for the New Year: No More Bee Kills!

By now, the whole world knows that seven documented bumble bee kill incidents happened in Oregon during 2013-2014. These bee slaughters were caused by applications of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Herbicides and Health Conference comes at the one-year anniversary of Oregon pesticide poisoning

One year ago, on October 16, 2013, people living near the town of Cedar Valley in Curry County could not have known that a helicopter pilot and a forestry consultant would carry out an aerial herbicide application above their homes.  The pilot loaded his tanks with a concoction of 2,4D and triclopyr, two potent herbicides with a record of human health risks, and mixed them with petroleum oil.  He flew four round trips over a residential area while carrying this chemical soup.  As many as 45 residents became mysteriously ill after smelling chemicals fumes and feeling chemicals drop onto their faces.

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Why am I weeding a watershed?

I just spent a large chunk of the day bent over patches of meadow knapweed with a sickle in my hand. Why in the heck am I spending a day swiping at an invasive weed near a river when I have plenty of weeds crying out for attention in my own yard? I do it because there is a lot at stake in one small, humble project to keep herbicides out of the Siuslaw watershed.

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Environmental Justice: Air Agency’s Decisions Disproportionately Impact Minority and Low-Income Residents

We’re just fed up. Beyond Toxics has used all available channels to warn the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) that it is ignoring its duty to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Now we must turn to the United States Office of Civil Rights to ask for help to ensure that LRAPA follows recognized standards of justice and public health protections for the families of West Eugene.

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