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2020Talks - February 28, 2020 

Tomorrow are the South Carolina primaries, and former VP Joe Biden leads in the poll, followed by winner of the first three contests, Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer. Some Republican South Carolinians may vote for Sanders because they want closed primaries.

BLM Gets Tough on Weeds; OR Groups Voice Concerns

October 14, 2009

ROSEBURG, Ore. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to increase the number of herbicides it uses to kill weeds in Oregon, as well as the number of acres it will spray. The proposed plan, which would increase the areas to be treated from 12,000 to 45,300 acres, is raising concerns with some landowners and conservation groups. They contend some of the chemicals to be used have not been thoroughly tested. Others, including 2-4-D, are already shown to be harmful.

The agency says the increase from four to 15 types of chemicals will better target specific weed problems. After reading the proposal, however, Francis Etherington with the group Umpqua Watersheds, thinks safety testing should come first.

"The BLM is going to continue to use these herbicides until the studies prove that it is harmful. We would like to see the BLM not use any chemicals that haven't had all the studies done on them to prove their safety to wildlife - and especially, safety to human beings."

The BLM says noxious weeds are a big problem in Oregon, covering more than a million acres and spreading at the rate of 12 percent a year. Etherington feels the agency should be doing more to prevent them, by restricting grazing and off-road vehicle use in some areas, and improving its forest management practices.

The proposal allows aerial spraying in Eastern Oregon, but not west of the Cascades. Etherington, a forest monitor for Umpqua Watersheds, says the concern in Western Oregon is that many private home sites border BLM land and get their water from local springs.

"BLM will allow themselves to spray herbicides to within 100 feet of people's homes, if the homes are near the edge of the property with BLM. That's a little close. And also, BLM will be spraying public use areas, like campgrounds and picnic areas."

The BLM will accept public comments until December 1. The plan, a draft Environmental Impact Statement, can be viewed online at Comments can be submitted online, or by mail at BLM Vegetation Treatments, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR, 97208.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR