Letter to the Editor: Take Action against Harmful Herbicides

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Recently, BC Timber Sales forwarded a referral to Wildsight of their proposed new Integrated Pest Management Plan for the Golden Timber area. The maps attached to the plan highlight vast areas potentially proposed for pesticide treatment, extending throughout the Golden area.

Over the past few years, one chemical in particular has come under global scrutiny and has now been linked to causing cancer. From a 2015, CBC story: “Herbicide chemical glyphosate ‘probably carcinogenic,” the World Health Organization (WHO).

More recently, the Environmental Protection Agency of California decided that glyphosate (Roundup) is linked to cancer development.

Glyphosate is one of the herbicides listed for planned use on Golden area reforested blocks, in order to target brush species including huckleberry, which we all know is an important food source for bears and people.

A major source of concern in the Golden area is that the window for spraying these pesticides coincides quite closely with hunting season. There is evidence that ungulates will happily graze newly treated brush species. In agricultural use, herbicide warnings state no grazing should take place for at least 8 weeks after treatment. So along comes the unsuspecting hunter, who, understandably, thinks he is bringing home organic meat to his family, while the deer about to go into his freezer has been, maybe that very day, munching glyphosate covered foliage.

What is clear is that many chemicals in our environment, over which we have little control, are linked to cancer. It makes no sense, and in fact, seems foolhardy, to consciously choose to use a know carcinogen on public lands when there is a dubious risk/benefit factor.

Other brush suppression techniques are available. Arguably, in some cases, they are less efficient or more monetarily expensive or more labour intensive. But if you factor in the risk to human health, wildlife, and the environment, the use of know carcinogenic pesticides seems too high a price to pay.

Let the BC government know that herbicides should not be used on our public lands to control naturally occurring native vegetation.

Please email: The Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca, copy to your MLA, Norm MacDonald, norm.Macdonald.MLA@leg.bc.ca  and to Planning Forester, BC Timber Sales – Revelstoke Field Team, miles.Howard@gov.bc.ca

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Ellen Zimmerman, Wildsight Golden