Chemical Trespass Rallies

Chemical trespass is what the rural residents of Triangle Lake say they experience when a timber company sprays toxic pesticides that drift onto their properties, often affecting the health of those living there, their gardens and drinking water.

There will be two rallies against chemical trespass on Feb. 11. In Lane County, the rally will start at noon on the shores of Triangle Lake on Highway 36. The other rally starts at 10 am in another heavily sprayed and clearcut area, Lake Selmac, along Highway 199 near Selma in Josephine County.

According to Eugene-based Beyond Toxics, both rallies will begin with opening remarks from elders of Oregon Native American tribes that have joined with Beyond Toxics, the Pesticide Action Workgroup and other groups to call attention to the toxic trespass and its negative effects on clean water and human health that the organizers say are caused by chemical sprays on private forestlands.

Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says these rallies reflect the “utter frustration of people trying to find a way to address problems in a legal manner.” Triangle Lake residents have been trying for years to put an end to the drifting aerial sprays. They have “filed complaints, attended PARC (Pesticide Analytical Response Center) meetings, begged for help and they get nothing,” Arkin says.

One of the speakers who will “witness” to her chemical trespass at the rally is Eron King, a Triangle Lake mother who “is furious about the test results showing that her two children have 2,4-D in their young bodies.”

Triangle Lake residents have had their urine tested and discovered herbicides commonly used in forestry, but Arkin says the residents are even running into problems with the current testing by the Oregon Health Authority. “Timber companies are determining where this investigation will take place,” she says, alleging that the companies are changing their spray patterns to avoid being linked to possible toxic findings. “It’s unheard of to take a scientific experiment and change the parameters midstream,” Arkin says.

According to the OHA webpage on the Triangle Lake exposure investigation, “Dating back to the 1960s, citizens have raised concerns about the health effects of aerial and manual applications of herbicides on coastal mountain forest lands.”

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