Community will decide on banning toxic aerial spraying


Kai Huschke

Lincoln County, Oregon: Next spring,  Lincoln County citizens will vote on a ban of toxic aerial pesticide spraying by the industrial timber industry. The citizen proposed initiative, drafted with assistance by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and put forward by Citizens for a Healthy County gathered over 1,600 signatures to qualify the measure. On July 28th the Lincoln County Clerk certified that the group had nearly a 90% validity rate of the required signatures needed to become Measure 21-177.

“Citizens for a Healthy County extends much appreciation to the more than twenty volunteers and supporters who helped to gather signatures to place this measure on the ballot,” said Barbara Davis, a Citizens for a Healthy County member.  “Our commitment to protect Lincoln County from the deadly harms of toxic aerial spraying resulted in this collaborative effort. We are Oregonians exercising our right to local self-government through the citizens initiative process.”

Measure 21-177 is also known as the Freedom from Aerial Sprayed Pesticides of Lincoln County ordinance. The ordinance establishes the right to clean air, water, and soil, and a right to be free from toxic chemical exposure. In addition, it prohibits corporations or government from aerial spraying of pesticides in order to protect those rights.

Aerial spraying of pesticides is a practice employed by the industrial timber industry to destroy any competing vegetation to the commodity crop trees that have been planted.  The toxic and dangerous practice goes hand-in-hand with clear-cutting, which has a long list of its own devastating impacts to forest ecosystems and watersheds.

Aerial spraying on federal forestland in Oregon has been banned for over 30 years due to its harm to people and nature. Voters in Lincoln County will now be in a position to ban the practice on corporate timberland and state forests to protect public and ecosystem health rights.

“It’s high time that our rights to clean air, water, and soil, and and our right not to be poisoned trumps corporate and governmental representatives who insist that toxic pesticides are safe and necessary. It’s time to stop aerial chemical warfare in Lincoln County,” says Maria Kraus, a member of Citizens for a Healthy County and Lincoln County Community Rights – a community rights educational group in the county.

Citizens for a Healthy County fully expects the corporate opposition to mount a disinformation campaign.   Over the next six months the group will conduct education and outreach regarding the measure as well as growing their organization through volunteers and requests for support.


Oregon Communities Part of Growing Movement

Oregon residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights Movement building across the United States. Local communities and state Community Rights Networks are partnering with CELDF to advance fundamental democratic and environmental rights. They are working with CELDF to establish Community Rights and the Rights of Nature in law, and prohibit extraction,  fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other industrial activities as violations of those rights. Communities are joining together within and across states, working with CELDF to advance systemic change – recognizing our existing system of law and governance as inherently undemocratic and unsustainable.


Additional Information

For more information on Lincoln County Community Rights, visit To learn about the Oregon Community Rights Network, visit To learn about the Community Rights Movement, visit


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.

Photo: Oregon Clearcut by Same Beebe

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