Beyond Toxics’ leadership of the movement for a clean and just Oregon had a definitive impact on the short 2020 legislative session. In 2019 we first presented the legislative concept to ban chlorpyrifos pesticides in Oregon. Just one year later, with help from our partners in the farm worker rights movement, HB 4109, a bill to phase-out chlorpyrifos, sailed through committees in the House and Senate with “Do Pass” votes, all the way to a vote by the full Senate.
Our years of work to protect rural communities from timber pesticide sprays and promote resilient forests served as a bedrock of principles for HB 4168, a bill that would have established 300-ft buffer zones for homes, schools and drinking water intakes. The bill would have been the first-ever to establish no-spray buffers on ALL tributaries and streams, as well as real-time pesticide spray notifications. Please read my blog, “The Tough Keep Going: Advancing Forest Practices and Pesticide Reform” on this groundbreaking legislative concept! HB 4168 had the support of both an expansive environmental coalition and a coalition of timber companies. The fact that timber companies operating in Oregon agreed to restrict herbicides sprays and institute real-time notification to rural neighbors is a tribute to the science-based and community-facing work Beyond Toxics has led for more than 16 years.
Sadly, both bills fell into the abyss of the legislature’s shut down due to the Republican walk out.
We continue to lead the work to end pesticide contamination of our streams, soils and forest and prioritize protections for children and workers. I am an appointed member of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Chlorpyrifos Stakeholder Committee. Together with our close allies, PCUN, Oregon’s Farm Worker Union, we submitted two testimonial documents that we hope will shape the final outcomes of the Stakeholder Group regarding its decision to take decisive actions to fully restrict this outdated organophosphate pesticide. Please read them and use the content to support our position with letters to your local newspaper editor and your elected officials.
With your help, we can and must keep the ban on chlorpyrifos in the public eye!
We also continue to attend leadership meetings about ending the use of aerial herbicide sprays in timber production and protecting forest waters. Watch for our next series of video productions of stories from rural communities that depend on clean rivers and healthy forests for their health.