Latest: New pesticide regulations for Oregon timber companies

Companies must now give officials at least a week’s notice before spraying.

  • Bureau of Land Management

In recent years, timber companies have begun spraying herbicides from helicopters to kill competitive forest weeds (“Fallout,” HCN, 11/10/14). Some of those chemicals used, such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid — an ingredient in Agent Orange — have sickened nearby residents; some can even cause kidney failure. Oregon is alone among Western states in allowing aerial spraying near homes and schools with no advance warning.

On Feb. 10, Oregon legislators proposed a law requiring timber companies to give officials at least a week’s notice before aerial pesticide spraying and to identify which chemicals they plan to use and where. The bill also directs the state’s Agriculture Department to establish no-spray residential buffer zones. “Oregon isn’t doing enough to protect the health of rural citizens from aerial herbicide sprays,” state Sen. Michael Dembrow told The Oregonian. “It’s time to change these outdated policies.”

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