Against Aerial Spraying

Oregon Wild is Against Aerial Spraying. 

Oregon wild supports policies and practices that protect and enhance thriving ecosystems that contribute to human and environmental health, and while we fight to advance such policies on the broadest scale possible, usually at a State or Federal level, we endorse people’s right to protect themselves from dangerous industrial practices on a local level as well. 

That is why we are announcing our support for the hard work and good ideas of community groups working to ban aerial spraying in both Lane and Lincoln counties, in addition to our efforts to stop aerial spray at a state wide level. 

 

The term aerial spraying is shorthand for the practice of using a helicopter to spray herbicides on land after it has been clearcut and turned into a “crop”, whether trees or otherwise. This is a major concern for Oregonians whose drinking water comes from forests, which is most of us. It is even more of a concernfor the people of Oregon’s Coast Range and coastal towns, where many of the streams providing peoples’ drinking water originate on the steep headwalls of coastal mountains, often owned and clearcut by corporations and Wall Street investment firms.

 
As Oregon Wild’s Forest and Watershed Campaign Organizer, and a resident of the Coast Range, I spend much of my time in those coastal communities, helping concerned citizens demand reforms to the outdated logging laws that allow the forests above their homes and towns to be clearcut with little to no regard for the impacts that will have on their drinking water. I help them spread their stories of helicopter spray drifting onto their homes, properties and bodies, sometimes making them sick, possibly causing deadly conditions in their pets, always making them afraid to drink their own water. 
Of all of the major problems in need of reform in Oregon’s logging laws; clearcutting, steep slopes logging, no tree buffers on 70% of streams, log exports, tax structures, etc, it is aerial spraying that draws the most ire from the people I meet in rural Oregon. Whether you are concerned about yourself, your pets, your family, your livestock, your property rights, or the health of the surrounding environment, the people I meet every day in rural Oregon agree . . . It is time to ban aerial spraying of herbicides. 

At Oregon Wild, we are working to do that every day. In addition to grassroots organizing, we have worked on ballot initiatives, we work in Salem with elected officials, we attend Board of Forestry meetings and bring our supporters to testify at them, we go to town hall meetings in local communities, and we work to keep our nearly 20,000 supporters updated with ways they can get involved in the fights to protect Oregon’s citizens, waters, and wildlife from such a dangerous practice.

These toxic substances have been seen to drift up to 4 miles! 

 Oregon Wild with the Citizens of Rockaway Beach doing grassroots outreach to Save Short Sands from aerial spray! 

We are committed to this daily work to stop aerial spraying statewide, and to reform the entire outdated Oregon Forest Practices Act, which was written when we still painted houses with lead, and has failed entirely to keep up with modern science. 

However, we can not ignore the fact that Salem remains in the midst of a decades-long dearth of environmental leadership, especially when it comes to the way we log our precious forests. Coordinated efforts, supported by a majority of Oregonians and modern science, to make even the most modest reforms to Oregon’s logging and herbicide laws have been met by lawmakers with attitudes ranging from indifference to near rabid hostility. In 2015, rural Oregonians who asked to be notified in advance of aerial spray happening near their homes were told by Salem lawmakers that this wasn’t an option because they may be “eco-terrorists.” 

What world do these legislators live in that the idea that I should have clean drinking water and breathable air should be considered so radical? 

In Lane and Lincoln counties, citizens are refusing to wait any longer and have begun what they call Community Rights Initiatives to protect themselves and their ecosystems from this harmful practice. If passed by voters in 2017, these laws would stop the practice of aerial spraying any kind of herbicide or pesticide from the sky, protecting human health, clean water, and biodiversity. 

To our supporters who live in Lane and Lincoln Counties, I urge you to look into these initiatives, whose information is linked below, support their efforts in your community, and make sure you know when they will be on your ballot for a vote. And to all of our supporters, rest assured that we continue working to defend all of Oregon from wreckless industrial logging practices, and with your support I know we can do it. 

We look forward to your continued support to enact rules that not only stop aerial spray, but that bring our entire Forest Practices Act up to date, so that Oregon may once again lead the way in environmental protections, and true sustainability. 

CLICK HERE for Lane County Spray Ban information
CLICK HERE for Lincoln County Spray Ban information

Not in one of those counties?
Sign on to our petition demanding statewide reform to Oregon's forest laws  and find other ways to take action by CLICKING HERE! 

 

 

  Jason Gonzales

  Forest & Watershed
  Campaign Organizer,
  Oregon Wild

  541-344-0675