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Petitions Against Aerial Spraying Reach Lane County Elections Office

Brian Bull

Opponents of aerial herbicide spraying in Lane County have submitted stacks of petitions they say have more than 15,000 signatures.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the proposed ballot measure would put a ban on the practice. 

Outside the Lane County Elections Office, about three dozen activists rallied, before members of Community Rights Lane County carried in several totes of petitions. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Speakers against aerial spraying stand with supporters outside the Lane County Elections Office.

Rob Dickinson has been active with the effort.  He says they only needed 11,500 signatures, but the proposed ban saw strong support among locals concerned for the environment.

“We think the herbicides cause harm in general, but we’re trying to stop the practice that is most likely to harm communities and people", Dickinson tells KLCC. 

"Because of the way that they apply it aerially by helicopter, it can drift and then they get onto neighboring properties and people and animals and pollute streams and soil, and so forth.  

Credit AFMPB / Flickr.com
Helicopter aerial-spraying.

"So our initiative would not preclude them from using backpack spraying, which is much more controlled and lower volume.” 

A similar ban was narrowly approved in Lincoln County this spring.  Court battles are keeping it from being enforced.  Dickinson says they may face legal challenges, but expect strong support. 

Lane County elections staff have 15 days to certify the signatures.  If approved, the amendment will go up to a vote in May 2018.  

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Petitions with signatures await certification by Lane County elections office staff.

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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