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Old 01-18-2006, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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BLM puts forward proposal on herbicides

BLM puts forward proposal on herbicides
1/16/2006, 1:00 p.m. PT
The Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) The amount of federal land in Western Oregon sprayed with herbicides could jump from 21,000 acres to 70,000 acres, under a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management.

Bureau officials said the spray is a necessary weapon against rampant invasive weeds, which have choked out native plants and taken over millions of acres of public land.

A 20-year-old court injunction that curbed the use of pesticides in Oregon left the bureau "a little bit handcuffed" in its fight against the prolific weeds, said Todd Thompson, an agency natural resource specialist based in Portland.

A final herbicide proposal, which is due later this year, is seen as the first step toward asking a judge to lift the injunction.

But the Eugene-based Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticide whose predecessor organization brought the original case says the proposed change would create a dependence on pesticides.

"Most herbicides that they are planning to use are very potent. They're good at killing plants. You end up with a lot of dead plants, which means bare ground,which means a good place for more weeds," staff scientist Caroline Cox said. "This will essentially put them on a herbicide treadmill."

Overall, the BLM's plan addresses the use of 16 herbicides on 262 million acres of bureau-controlled lands in 17 Western states.

Agency Director Kathleen Clark said the initiative is part of President George Bush's effort to reduce fire danger on public lands. Some fires are fueled by juniper and pinyon trees; sagebrush, mesquite and other types of brush; and cheatgrass and other plants that can become tinder-dry.

In Western Oregon, for example, gorse an invasive shrub with spiny, oily branches was the spark when the coastal town of Bandon burned in 1936.

Timber industry officials said of pesticides on the agency's Douglas fir plantations could increase the productivity of the land, according to Chris West, spokesman for the Portland-based American Forest Resources Council.

The herbicides are needed to "make sure the trees that are planted can get up and above the brush so they get on to the business of growing," West said.

If the agency adopts the proposal to triple the acreage treated with pesticide, years will pass before the practice in Oregon changes. That's because the agency must return to court to get injunctions lifted on two issues.

First, it must persuade a judge to expand the list of approved chemicals from four to 16.

Second, Oregon agency officials would have to write an entirely new environmental impact statement on the practice of using herbicides to retard vegetation in Douglas fir plantations on BLM land.


Information from: The Register-Guard,
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Trade off situation, while the justification to use same is good conversely the impact on other desireable species affected is an issue. Here in MT theres a coperative agreement between USFS-BLM and MT dept of forestry-DFG about using any herbicides-pesticides because of what DFG found when the USFS used pesticides to control spruce bud worm in the '60s. The result is that MT has final say on what is used on any forest up here regardless of land ownership....

[I]Vegetarian is an old Native American word for bad hunter[/I]
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