Group wants glyphosate spraying delayed until February hearing

Ahead of community meeting, group hopes company will volunteer not to spray glyphosate.

The Kitsap Environmental Coalition is gearing up for a showdown with Pope Resources over the company’s intent to spray glyphosate and other chemicals on more than 330 acres of private timberland south of Hansville.

“We are feeling positive, energized and organized,” said one of the coalition’s leaders, Randi Strong-Petersen.

The group is hoping to come to an agreement with Pope Resources to voluntarily hold off spraying until after an appeal filed by the coalition is reviewed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Pollution Control Hearings Board in February.

According to Strong-Petersen, the group has been contacting elected officials.

In an email addressed to Pope Resources’ director of administration and corporate affairs, Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder asked for Pope to hold off spraying until after PCHB reviewed the matter.

“Today I am writing on behalf of the many North Kitsap residents I represent, to relay their sincere concerns and to respectfully ask that Pope Resources acknowledge those concerns by not spraying in advance of the hearing before the Pollution Control Hearing Board (PCHB). I understand the PCHB has scheduled the hearing for Feb. 25-27, 2019,” part of the email reads.

Piper Thornburgh, Kitsap Environmental Coalition’s legal counsel, said that while the Pollution Control Hearings Board does have the capacity to issue an emergency stay for Pope Resources, the coalition was opting instead to work toward a voluntary agreement with Pope’s lawyers.

“We’re trying to work this out with Pope Resources in advance of having to go to that stage,” Thornburgh said. “No motion for a temporary suspension has been filed at this time.”

Thornburgh said with glyphosate making headlines in recent weeks, following a $289 million court ruling against the herbicide’s manufacturer, Monsanto, that more time ought to be allowed to reconsider the chemical’s use.

“Now that a national awareness has been building around the dangers of glyphosate — the main ingredient in Roundup — we’re asking for Pope to put on hold their plans to spray this area [in order] to allow this matter to go through a meaningful appeals process,” Thornburgh said. “That means agreeing to hold off spraying until the appeal has been heard.”

The Kitsap Environmental Coalition will meet with Pope Resources at the Greater Hansville Community Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com

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