Poisons vs. Local Say on Public Health to be Heard by the Oregon’s Court of Appeals

Oral arguments on Lincoln County’s 2017 Ban of Aerial Pesticide Spraying to be heard Tuesday, June 1, 2021  Morning docket (9-noon) 


May 11, 2021

NEWPORT –  Lincoln County voters in  2017 passed Measure 21-177, banning aerial pesticide spraying in the County to protect the health and safety of residents and critical ecosystems.   Representatives of the timber industry promptly sued to overturn the county ban. 

The aerial spray ban was in effect for 29 months, until Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Bachart in September 2019 ruled Measure 21-177 invalid on the grounds of state preemption, thereby over-turning local democracy.  

Since the Circuit Court decision, the timber industry has been free to resume poisoning the County’s air, soil, and water on timber lands. The harm caused by industry’s herbicide and pesticide poisons is overwhelmingly shown in such sources as the Poison Papers and the recently released documentary film “The People vs. Agent Orange.”  Judge Bachart ruled that local control of those poisons was pre-empted by the Oregon Pesticide Control Act, which was drafted and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and industry lobbyists solely to serve corporate special interests.

Lincoln County Community Rights, the non-profit organization that placed Measure 21-177 on the ballot, filed an appeal against invalidation of the measure.  The Siletz River Ecosystem also appealed the trial court decision to deny it intervention in the case. Oral arguments will be heard virtually Tuesday, June 1, 2021 in the morning session.

Speaking on behalf of the Siletz River Ecosystem, Carol Van Strum notes that securing rights of the river to exist, thrive and be protected from poisoning by aerial spraying is part of a global movement of tribal and other entities to grant natural systems standing to defend themselves in our courts.  

What is at stake is whether state government exists to protect people’s rights to save themselves and their environment from poisoning, or to protect industry’s right to poison people and their world for profit.  The hearing on Tuesday, June 1st will be held virtually. To attend live proceedings or to listen to the recorded archive for Case No: A172934, Capri v Jenkins: 

 https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/appellate/media/Pages/webcasting.aspx (For guidance) ;  https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/appellate/media/Pages/LiveStream.aspx (To access live link to court proceedings)