FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Debra Fant, Lincoln Co. Community Rights board
Photos available by request
NEWPORT, OR – Lincoln County voters passed Measure 21-177, banning aerial pesticide spraying in the county in May of 2017. Representatives of the timber industry promptly sued to overturn the ban. The aerial spray of toxic chemicals was halted for 29 months, until September 2019 when the Circuit Court ruled Measure 21-177 invalid, thereby over-turning local democracy. Local control of these poisons was deemed pre-empted, or overruled, by the Oregon Pesticide Control Act, state law which says only the state can regulate pesticide use.
Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR), the non-profit organization that placed Measure 21-177 on the ballot, filed an appeal against invalidation of the measure and against the court’s refusal to rule on the standing of the Siletz River Ecosystem as a living entity with rights to a voice in the proceedings. The case was heard June 1st, 2021 by the Court of Appeals, June 22 the decision affirmed the lower court ruling with no comment nor opinion.
With this decision, the question of the Siletz Ecosystems’ standing is yet to be considered, the voters’ will is over-turned, and the timber industry is free to continue poisoning Lincoln County’s air, soil, and water on timber lands. What was and continues to be at stake is whether state government exists to protect the people’s right to higher standards of safety for themselves and their environment or to protect industry’s right to poison people and their world for profit.
Jan Kenyon, LCCR Board member says “Our group and our allies state-wide will continue to work to secure local democracy. We are considering filing a Petition for Review to be heard by the Oregon Supreme Court. We are committed to build a strong community who believes that local voices are essential voices and local choice is the backbone of balanced governance and our future.”