Originally posted on communityrightslanecounty.org :
Do you want to help (and really don’t want to collect signatures), but aren’t sure what to do?
As an organization working towards a better place to live, we feel everyone must work towards that goal in their own way. So while some organizations are…
- writing more protective laws in the places they live,
- others are driving to Salem to talk with elected officials,
- while others are out there standing in front of trucks!
We all do what we can, and we want to help YOU do your part by sharing this Action.
Ultimately we’d like to ban aerial spraying in all of Oregon. Working towards that goal, we’ll write letters of support for the legislative bills being introduced this session. And while we don’t hold our breathe that the legislature will save the day (give the people what they really want), we do want to support the efforts of those that work towards reforming the Forest Practices Act in any way.
Below is information on bills that were introduced. We’ve also provided a sample letter for you to send your elected official in Salem. If you don’t know who that is, find your Oregon legislator.
The Timber Aerial Spray Right to Know bill – SB 892
SB 892 | Summary: Requires filing notice with State Forestry Department of proposed aerial application of pesticide as planned forest management activity on privately owned forestland. | The original bill as introduced->> | -1 amendment->>
Statement of the problem
In Oregon, the law allows corporate timber companies to use helicopters to spray herbicides over their tree farms. Until 2015 Oregon had no protective no-spray buffer zones to protect people and pets on their home property or children at schools. Also, under Oregon law, aerial spray applicators don’t have to provide records of their pesticide use, which leaves agencies and the public unable to monitor the impacts of chemical use in forestry.
After a failure in the legislature, corporate interests interfered and the new rules require only a 60 ft. no-spray zone for homes and school buildings. Truly, this was a disappointing outcome after so much effort, and it is barely a band aid on a major hemorrhage. What’s needed is to ban aerial sprays on timber lands because of the extreme risk to human health, drinking water purity and impacts to wildlife.
The 2015 Legislature also refused to pass a law requiring the Dept. of Forestry to provide timely notification to residents, schools, medical and public facilities prior to aerial pesticide applications on nearby industrial timber land. Oregonians need timely notification, at the very least, to protect their children and pets, recognizing that livestock, gardens and drinking water will still be vulnerable.
Until Oregon acts to ban aerial sprays, we must ensure the Legislature provides as many protections as possible to people impacted by aerial sprays. Oregon can start helping vulnerable rural families now by passing SB 892!
The Benefits of SB 892
SB 892 fixes two problems:
- ADVANCED WARNING FOR AERIAL SPRAYS: Rural residents need a warning prior to an aerial spray. A warning will help residents ensure the safety of their family and pets. E-warnings can be issued by the FERNS Notification system, a web-based, centralized database of all forestry operations managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The FERNS system can send out e-notifications to anyone requesting timely notification.
- REPORTING PESTICIDE USE: SB 892 requires a spray applicator to file spray records with the Dept. of Forestry within five days following a spray operation. The proposed rule is necessary because Oregonians have the right to know the extent of herbicide use in our watersheds, habitat lands and communities. Better communication would allow impacted communities and agencies to work collaboratively to minimize risk. Requiring the Spray Record uses existing regulatory infrastructure, such as FERNS and mandatory spray record keeping.
Introduced by Senator Michael Dembrow
To be considered by the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources
Use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Important!)
Also send individual emails to all 5 members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to urge their strong support for SB 892.
- Chair: Senator Michael Dembrow – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1723 | Email
- Vice-Chair: Senator Alan Olsen – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720 | Email
- Member: Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr. – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1702 | Email
- Member: Senator Floyd Prozanski – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1704 | Email
- Member: Senator Arnie Roblan – Capitol Phone: 503-986-1705 | Email
Don’t forget to also write your own state legislators and urge their support.
Key point: The Oregon Legislature has stalled for too many years to take steps to help rural people get protection from aerial sprays (or give us what we really want- ban spraying). It is unethical for the Legislature to stall any longer.
- The Oregon Department of Forestry has the technological capacity to send out advanced alerts 1 or 2 days prior to an aerial or ground spray.
- A timber spray warning is so easy to do = Please just do it!
Dear Chair Dembrow and Members of the Senate Environment Committee,
As an Oregon voter, I’m in support of a total ban on aerial herbicide spraying in Lane County and eventually, all of Oregon. Until that day comes, I support the passage of SB 892 because it is will help rural residents have some modicum of protection against being caught outside when there is a nearby aerial spray. With modern technology that our state agencies already have, this is both simple and ethical. Please understand that this bill, while important and necessary, still doesn’t stop the predominant harm caused by aerial spraying. Farmers and their animals who both depend on clean water and soil will still be vulnerable as the sprays happen near them. Please pass SB 892 with a strong recommendation for adoption! This is about the right to private property and not having property trespass. If aerial herbicide spray is as safe as they say, why not alert us and let us know what is being sprayed? No harm – no foul, right? This is just a small step in the right direction. Ultimately, we citizens should be able to say “NO” to toxic practices occurring in our communities and near our homes and schools.