A bill introduced last week in Salem would give Oregonians and lawmakers more tools to regulate aerial spraying of chemical pesticides on private forest land.
Lisa Arkin is Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, based in Eugene. She says the bill, called the Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act, was inspired by cases in Triangle Lake and Curry County where residents believe they were poisoned by spraying of pesticides on nearby private forestland.
The bill requires forest owners to give advance notice of pesticide spraying. Arkin says the only notice neighbors get now is the sound of helicopters.
Arkin: "The bill itself will create more transparency and public health opportunities. It also authorizes the Oregon Health Authority to participate in pesticide poisoning incidents which currently they don't do."
Arkin says, under the bill, the state agency can investigate if residents believe pesticide drift has caused illness in their community. The bill was introduced in the senate last week. But no hearing has been scheduled. Beyond Toxics is hosting a daylong discussion of Senate Bill 613 Thursday at the State Capitol in Salem.