Protect Right to Know & Public Comment on Pesticide Spraying
Protect Democracy in Alaska!
State Eliminates Public Voice in Decisions about Pesticide Spraying on State Public Lands and Right of Ways
Governor Sean Parnell and the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) approved drastic changes to pesticide regulations that would weaken democratic participation in decisions that affect water quality, fish habitat, and public health.
“If Alaskans’ drinking water, children or fishing streams are at risk, Alaskans should have a say.” ~Rep. Les Gara
- The current comment period was scheduled to expire at 5 pm on August 2, 2012, during the summer when many Alaskans are busy with subsistence activities, commercial fishing, or family vacations. ADEC has so far denied requests for an extension on the comment period.
- Alaskans should have opportunities to speak out on these significant and detrimental regulatory changes.
Proposed pesticide regulations would:
- Eliminate permit requirements for the spraying of pesticides on state public lands with no safeguards for the protection of sensitive waterways, drinking water sources, fish and wildlife habitat, or public health;
- Block public participation in decisions about pesticide spraying on public lands—with no public hearings, opportunity for written public comments, or way to appeal bad decisions. This would deprive Alaskans of our right to speak out about potential harm to our drinking water, fishing streams, subsistence uses, dangers to our children and public health;
- Promote the application of potentially harmful pesticides and herbicides without consideration of toxicity and effects to health and the environment;
- Weaken public right-to-know requirements to notify the public about places where the pesticides will be sprayed.
The proposed changes would ELIMINATE the pesticide permitting program at Alaska’s DEC.
The proposal for a new Integrated Pest Management Plan may sound good – but first look at what you stand to lose:
- the right to know
- the right to comment on pesticide uses on public lands
- the right to know when and where pesticides were used
- the right to public participation in decisions which could impact our health
Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s mission is: Conserving, improving and protecting Alaska’s natural resources and environment to enhance the health, safety, economic and social well-being of Alaskans. With these changes, the DEC may lose its ability to:
- collect public comment, approve, mediate, or deny pesticide permits for use on public lands
- reduce its ability to protect Alaskan’s health from known harmful pesticides
- reduce its abililty to inform agencies, companies, and the public of non-toxic and less harmful alternatives to pesticide use
There would be NO requirement for the applicator agency to submit a pesticide permit application to ADEC; there would be no ADEC decision because ADEC would no longer be issuing spray authorizations for specific project proposals.
There would be NO requirement for public participation in the decision of whether or not to use pesticides…no public hearing and no opportunity to submit comments or appeal a bad decision.
There would be NO requirement for ADEC to accept public comment, evaluate, establish mitigating measures, or authorize, by permit or otherwise, specific spraying proposals. In fact, ADEC wouldn’t need to be notified of a spray operation until 15 days prior to the commencement of spraying.
There would be NO requirement to identify water bodies or private water wells or other private water sources located in close proximity to a spray area.
There would be NO ADEC-imposed no-spray buffers to water bodies or to private wells or other private water sources.
There would be NO required review by other agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Game.
There would be NO opportunity for the public to inform ADEC or an applicator agency of places used by the public (such as railroad flag stops, residences that are close to the railroad or the highway, trailheads and crossings, private water sources like springs or wells, etc.) that should be buffered by no-spray zones.
There would be NO required assessment by ADEC of the toxicity of a particular pesticide and its risk to human health and the environment, and the public would have NO opportunity to weigh in on such risks.