Petition opposes aerial spray of herbicides near Hansville

Olympic Resource Management was recently given permission to spray herbicides via aerial spray on more than 330 acres around Hansville, and an online petition has been created to oppose the plan.

But there’s a catch. The spraying could occur in just a couple of weeks, according to Adrian Miller, the company’s director of administration and corporate affairs.

He also said the group is coming up with a response to concerns raised by residents about the spraying.

“We’re going to be meeting [Friday] morning as a team to kind of discuss how we want to approach the response,” Miller said. “I am aware of the intense public interest.”

Andrew MacMillen created an online petition that has already gathered more than 500 signatures. He works as the webmaster for the North Kitsap Trails Association.

“The outdoors and the environment are very, very important to me,” MacMillen said. “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back, even though I really have liked a lot of what Pope Resources (ORM’s parent company) has done over the years for North Kitsap. My hope is that they will choose to refrain and have a public meeting regarding it.”

Sherry Appleton represents Washington’s 23rd Legislative District, which includes Kitsap County. Appleton said she shares in her constituents’ concerns about the possible impacts the spraying could have in the area.

“We have been talking to [Department of Natural Resources] and not getting very far, but we’ve been talking to them, and hopefully they will change their minds about allowing this spraying,” Appleton said. “I don’t think anybody would mind if they sprayed from the ground. That would keep it really focused on an area.”

Appleton suggested that the reason for the permit’s approval in the first place was because it fell through the cracks.

“I think when you have a large agency and different people dealing with different problems, something, sometimes can just escape their notice,” she said.

Stephen Bernath is the deputy supervisor of forest practices for DNR. He said that Pope’s application was, in fact, reviewed and approved without condition. Bernath also added that if members of the public feel that DNR has erroneously approved a permit, they may issue an appeal to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days of the application’s approval. Bernath also noted that DNR provides a pesticide fact sheet on its website that outlines the laws regulating the use of herbicides and pesticides in forestry practices.

Much of the concern expressed by residents centers around Pope’s intent to use a chemical manufactured by Monsanto called glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup and has been at the center of hundreds of lawsuits alleging its link to cancer in humans.

In 2017 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that glyphosate was probably not carcinogenic to humans. The EPA’s conclusion contested the findings of a 2015 study by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which determined that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

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

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