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Daily News Archive
From November 29, 2005                                                                                                           

BLM Plans to Triple Annual Herbicide Spraying
(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2005) Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) needs your help in voicing opposition to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that includes a plan to apply massive herbicide applications in seventeen western states. According to a press alert issued by CATs, the agency’s plan will more than triple current annual herbicide use, raising spray totals to cover 932,000 acres of public lands with toxic chemicals.

The agency is claiming that herbicides are needed to reduce catastrophic wildfires and protect ecosystems from invasive weeds. Included in the BLM proposal are herbicides that they admit put applicators at risk: 2,4-D, bromacil, chlorsulfuron, diquat, diuron, fluridone, hexazinone, teburthiruon, and triclopyr. Also included is picloram, which is no longer registered for use by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). Three of the herbicides have not even been evaluated by the CDPR for registration of products.

Negative impacts from BLM’s proposed plan include direct, indirect and cumulative effects to both the environment and human health. Soil productivity and water quality can be reduced to unsafe levels. Non-targeted vegetation and wildlife (terrestrial and aquatic) would all suffer from the proposed plan. Exposed risk to Native peoples would occur during their cultural plant gathering practices. The workers that would apply the herbicides would be particularly at risk.

According to CATs, BLM can effectively manage and treat unwanted vegetation by a variety of non-herbicide techniques including, but not limited to, fire, mechanical, manual, cultural, and biological control methods. CATs has a history with BLM in advocating for the utilization of non-toxic vegetation management strategies.

BLM's Vegetation Treatments and EIS Report is available in a downloadable format.

TAKE ACTION: Comment on the draft PEIS by supporting Alternative C, the no herbicide use alternative. Contact your elected officials and local BLM field office. To provide written comments, be placed on the mailing list, or request CDs of the documents, contact Brian Amme, Project Manager, BLM, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520-0006. Comments may also be faxed to 775-861-6712, or emailed to vegeis@nv.blm.gov. Let them know that you oppose these spray plans and that you do not approve of the use of toxic chemicals locally on our public lands. The deadline for public comment is January 9, 2006.