BOARD OF HEALTH
April 26, 2006
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. PUBLIC COMMENTS
John Sundquist, Coburg, recalled that under the Last Resort Policy, if noxious weed emergencies exist, they could only be treated by herbicides. He indicated that Public Works always had the ability to simply ask the Board for permission to use the herbicide tools it needed to deal with emergencies. He thought the shop and vegetation crews could be testing, modifying or improving a variety of off-the-shelf gravel reclaiming discs and burm shapers. He thought the tools would eliminate the need for poisons in the gravel next to the road. He said employees could be developing alternatives to poisons if they were so directed. He commented that Public Works could be developing best management practices documents that guide decision making toward eliminating sediment and toxic runoff if they were directed. He asked why Public Works wasn’t directed to do these things. He asked why Public Works had refused to develop alternatives to poisons. He asked the Board not to approve any of the poisons. He asked to direct staff to develop alternative programs and best management practices.
Lynn Bowers, Eugene, said she was in front of the Board about a year ago with a handmade map of forestry sprays in Central Lane County. She brought computer generated maps. She said people are getting mad because of the poisons that are being sprayed. She said when they met with Oren Schumacher, Public Works, he told them there was no practical way for Lane County to know when its poison spray would overlap someone else’s. She stated there was no scientific knowledge about multiple products exposure and there is no one who knows what is going on in Lane County. She said they need people to voluntarily abstain from spraying within one mile of homes and schools and for Lane County by saying no to pressure from the chemical industry. She requested the Board display the maps so any citizen could see where the poisons were being sprayed.
Robin Winfrey, Eugene, concurred with what was said.
Amy Pincus Merwin, Eugene, said she came to the Board last year and handed out a list of people who were sick in Deadwood from herbicides. She said she has been signing “do not spray” on her road. She asked why the onus on them is to say not to spray. She requested that if someone wanted to be sprayed that they be opted in.
Diane Albino, Marcola, asked why they have to fight battles when pesticides are not good for living things. She had animals and a child affected by poisons that were sprayed. She said she is on the board of two watershed councils and she knows the roadside ditches drain into the rivers and the poisons entering into the rivers are not good for the fish. She asked when they are going to value life over the bottom line.
Jan Nelson, discussed chemicals not meeting provisions of the ordinance. She gave a history of chemical spraying.
Ruth Duemler, Eugene, commented that her daughter has a tumor around her heart because of the spraying of Roundup. She thought spraying has to be of concern and urged the Board to reconsider it and put off using herbicides.
Jan Wroncy, Eugene, distributed information. She recommended the Board reject the entire list of proposed herbicides. She distributed a proclamation from the governor declaring May the month for awareness and education regarding toxic chemical uses and sensitivity. She commented to start using herbicides again on public property in Lane County would be inconsistent with the proclamation of the governor. She stated that each product violates one or more of the criteria of the Last Resort Policy.
Aimee Code, Eugene, recalled the ordinance that was passed in 2003 was the Last Resort, not a no spray policy. She stated there had been no spraying for the past two and a half years. She said the concerns with the herbicides had been outlined by the Health Advisory Committee by their comments. She indicated that the message she wanted to send is that however it all comes out, they have to see the ordinance implemented in a way that Public Works does. She wanted it implemented. She wanted to see the ordinance followed as a last resort.
Kathy Ging, Eugene, thought the staff was not proud of poisoning the public. She urged people not to vote for any more public dollars to be spent by the Board until they stop poisoning the public.
Wilson recalled that the ordinance the Board adopted imposes upon the Board of Health the obligation to adopt by resolution a permitted products list for the use of herbicides by the Department of Public Works. She said it calls on the Board of Health to solicit comment from the Vegetation Management Advisory Committee and the public health administrator. She said it is required that the Board of Health will adopt a permitted products list. She added the ordinance states and has certain criteria that the permitted products must meet certain criteria and there is a second level of criteria where consideration will be given. She indicated the list is not mandatory but is to be considered.
2. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
3. REGULAR BUSINESS
a. ORDER 06-4-26-1H/In the Matter of Adopting, by Resolution, a Permitted Products List for Use of Herbicides by the Department of Public Works for Roadside Vegetation Management, in Accordance with the Last Resort Policy, Ordinance 12-03, Lane Code 15.510 Sec 3(a).
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, discussed the chart with the comments from committee members (copy in file). He commented that there are no safe herbicides. He said the policy is not a no spray policy, but a last resort policy. He said today they are discussing the comments on the permitted list, not to revisit the ordinance. He said the language in Lane Code 15 was permitted herbicides to be used only as a last resort when other options are proven ineffective. He said the committee had spent a lot of time working on this and the intent of the ordinance is a last resort. He said they agreed in principle that they should reduce or eliminate herbicides from a health and community standpoint. He thought Orin Schumacher, Public Works, did a good job in doing what he was asked. He noted that some of the criteria were not met. He thought the more they could do to minimize a pesticides environment, the better off they would be.
Sonny Chickering, Public Works, explained that a portion of his division is responsible for vegetation management. He noted the ordinance requires the Board of Health to adopt a permanent products list. He explained that permanent products (even if they are adopted) can only be used as a last resort and that is the intent of the ordinance. He said they have made an attempt to identify a short list of herbicides they would use under very specific circumstances. He added that the circumstances are described in detail in Attachment 2 (copy in file). He noted on the three alternatives for each type of road vegetation issue they might have, only one is a use of an herbicide. He said in almost every case, herbicide is the last resort.
Chickering indicated there are five products they are proposing to put on the permitted products list and they have put together a two page summary of each of the products. He added that Schumacher had produced a spreadsheet to address the criteria that is listed in the Last Resort Ordinance. He noted there are two levels of requirements: the first are requirements that must be met before a product could be used, and the second grouping is called additional considerations.
Chickering noted they had provided the proposed products and prescription document to the Vegetation Management Advisory Committee and to the Public Health Committee. He indicated that he and Schumacher attended meetings from both groups. He said they are proposing that the Board approve a permitted products list that could include one or all five products. He noted another option is to approve a list that says no herbicides are approved at this time.
Dwyer asked if any products had phosphates.
Schumacher stated he did not recall them.
Wilson explained that category 5 were additional consideration criteria and not required. She added that category 4 were the required criteria. She understood that they all met the required criteria. She noted that section 4 would be mandatory and section 5 are things to think about in balancing the choices and decisions they need to make.
Schumacher noted in going through the considerations, ethanol came out as a potential carcinogen and IARC that does cancer research on herbicides listed ethanol only when in concentration with beer. He said ethanol in the form it is in is not considered carcinogenic.
Dwyer wanted them to develop alternatives for different types of uses in the roadway. He also wanted to see where the programs won’t work and they could come back on a site-specific basis. He said that is a last resort.
Chickering responded that is what the prescription portion of the packet does. He said for specific roadside features and for noxious weeds, they had done that.
Dwyer asked why they needed a permitted list.
Chickering stated they couldn’t use an herbicide unless the Board puts it on a list. He said if they had a problem with a weed they couldn’t address with a product on the permitted product list, there is another portion of the Last Resort Policy that allows them to come to the Board of Health and request use of a non-permitted herbicide. He didn’t anticipate having to do that, but it is allowed by the Last Resort Policy.
Sorenson thought they needed documentation to put them on the list. He wanted them to try to manage the roadside vegetation without using any spray and if that doesn’t work, then come back and use the list. He thought they were prejudging the need to use chemicals.
Chickering recalled for the past two and a half years they have been managing vegetation without the use of herbicides. He said their experience is they are not adequately handling some of the vegetation types and as a result they have created the documentation to describe where and when they need to use herbicides.
Green commented that any product that is in the hands of an amateur or inexperienced could be dangerous. He noted that staff has done what they have been instructed to do for the past two years and as the Board, they sent this issue to the Public Health Committee so they could do due diligence. He didn’t support the contentiousness of the accusation that the County is poisoning people. He supported the document.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-4-26-1H.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Stewart said as commissioner sitting on the advisory council, that staff and people on the committee had done an excellent job. He said there are noxious species that they had not effectively been able to treat the past two years and they have proof of it. He believed what had been laid out for them is a last resort policy. He added the products did meet the requirements in most areas. He commented that the Last Resort Policy would not be effective without any products. He was supportive of the policy.
Sorenson asked what the criteria is of approving some chemicals that have a half life that is longer.
Schumacher explained they went through an extensive list of the chemicals. He said they first broke down the ones that qualify for mandatory consideration. He said then they look at the herbicides that would be effective on the situations they face. He noted the list got dwindled down.
Sorenson asked if they were going to buy a new spray truck.
Chickering responded they were not. He said they might make modifications to the existing truck.
Morrison supported the motion but thought they did have some vegetation issues.
Dwyer thought adopting the list was a prelude to using it and it won’t be a last resort, and wouldn’t support it.
VOTE: 3-2 (Dwyer, Sorenson dissenting).
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 10:15 a.m.