Herbicide Spray Alert
...by CLMP and CATs
In April of this year, Arcata-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) contacted the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project asking for our help in their efforts to monitor herbicide spray activities in Humboldt County. Last year Humboldt County timber companies sprayed approximately 13,000 acres of land and watersheds with herbicides. Also, according to a 1999 EIS for the Headwaters Project, Pacific Lumber Company has been mixing diesel fuel into the herbicide spray to the tune of 50 thousand gallons of diesel in a year.|
The use of herbicides is part of current clear cut timber harvest practices. First comes the clear cut, which means everything is cut down. After trees are cut and taken away, it looks like a bomb hit the area and wiped out all life. Next comes burning all the slash. Finishing off the job with the spraying of herbicides, with or without diesel, is done to make sure any smaller vegetation that may have survived the original assault is poisoned and killed off.
Although out-of-sight is out-of-mind for some folks, others of us are concerned over the environmental and health effects of massive spraying of toxic herbicides and diesel over forest lands and watersheds. There is no real government monitoring and enforcement of the existing laws, including no requirement to report diesel use in timber spray operations, even 50 thousand gallons of it! We are told not to worry, that the toxins disappear after killing the plant life but, according to CATs, many of the herbicide ingredients and the diesel linger for long periods of time while continuing to damage wildlife and human populations.
* Herbicide spray operations are happening on land owned by Barnum, Simpson, Sierra Pacific and Pacific Lumber companies. Any area that has been clear cut in the past three or four years is most likely to be sprayed.
* Indicators of spray operations include vehicles, trucks and/or vans, maybe white, carrying backpack sprayers, containers and possibly ATVs, traveling to or from a spray site. The vans will probably have roof racks with spray equipment, and three to four rows of seats for Latino workers.
* The public needs to know when and where herbicide spraying is occurring so that if there are effects, people will be able to piece together the relationship between spraying and damage. Currently no government agency has advance notice of most spraying, and the timber companies aren't telling.
If you see anything suspicious, or think you may be feeling the effects of a nearby spray or burn operation, please call immediately: Contact CATs Spray Hot Line @ (707) 822-8497. If you get an answering machine, leave a message telling what you saw, when and where, and if possible, leave your phone number. There are people available to respond when called. Timing is crucial. Your help is needed. If you call CLMP on a day when our office is open, we will forward your call. Otherwise, call CATs directly.
Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
P.O. Box 1195 (990 I Street)
Arcata, CA 95518
(707)822-8497 (FAX 822-7136)