Activists protest proposed herbicide use near Loyalton
Activists delivered petitions Thursday, Jan. 28, to Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Steve Eubanks with 2,000 signatures opposing a proposed herbicide application.
The Forest Service proposed to spray herbicide with the same active ingredients as household weedkillers Brush-B-Gone and Round Up on 21,000 acres of burned-over forest near Loyalton.
The herbicide would kill shrubs that compete with pines planted after the 1994 Cottonwood Fire, TNF officials say.
“They’re three major issues,” said Don Jacobson, a member of the Cottonwood Coalition, an ad hoc group of about 30 environmental groups that organized the petition drive.
“It’s a project that doesn’t need to be,” Jacobson said. “The shrubs that they want to eliminate are beneficial. Second, … the chemicals that they’re using pose an unacceptable risk to human health and wildlife. Third, if they still want to use herbicides, they need to do an environmental impact statement.”
Such an environmental review would be more in-depth than the environmental assessment the Forest Service did for the project, Jacobson said.
The TNF expects to release a “decision notice” in late February explaining what it will do, said Eubanks. “We are leaning to some changes in the original proposal, but at this point it would be preliminary to talk about them,” he said Friday.
Asked if the signatures make a difference, Eubanks said the petition drive shows a high level of interest in the proposed herbicide application.
“Yes, from the standpoint that it’s good to see the level of interest,” Eubanks said. “It’s really not a voting process. It’s not the number of people who are in favor or against. We’re particularly interested in substantive comments.”
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