the BLM v. the Public

Toward Restoring the Special Trust: the BLM v. the Public
By Barbara Kelley
Published on Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Dear “Friends and Countrymen,”

After many years as an “eco-warrior” in Lane County, I moved to Portland to retire and write my book. Of course I haven’t done either so far, as environmental issues keep calling me. (I guess it is a calling.)

Currently, my organization Save Our ecoSystems inc (SOS), and several other groups and individuals throughout Oregon, have appealed a huge and very dangerous plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or Bureau for Bad Land Management, if you like.

Back in the 80′s, SOS and several other organizations won injunctions against BLM spray programs. One went all the way to the Supreme Court, followed by an order from the Departments of the Interior and of Agriculture to cease and desist spraying the public forests–period. There had been widespread revelation by the people, and by scientists, that were making headlines–the herbicides were putting both animals and people at risk for birth defects, contaminating waters, animals, fish and breast milk, plus a long list of threats to wildlife and all living beings. I, for example, became a diabetic for life, like so many of the Vietnam Veterans. It was heartbreaking to watch our young farm animals die, despite the best of care, and to see baby goats born with birth defects. They were spraying Agent Orange in forest operations behind our farm.

The federal agencies were finally forced to stop spraying the public forests, although it has continued unabated in the private forests, exposing the entire environment in those areas. Unfortunately the BLM has changed its focus from silvaculture to plants and now proposes to put us through this all over again. They have been part of a growing determination to eradicate the “invasives,” the “noxious,” and even some of the native plants. And so, they have formed an alliance with many members of the environmental community in a pseudoscientific determination that these plants must be eradicated, I feel this is counter-evolution, and counter-intuitive. BLM is back again with its spray guns and helicopters, and its arsenal of toxic herbicides. What happened to all those injunctions earlier obtained in a series of lawsuits in the 70′s and 80′s? I have just learned that they managed to have the injuctions of SOS and SOCATS mooted without any notice to us.

Several organizations, including SOS and SOCATS, and many individuals, have therefore filed administrative appeals. Having jumped through that hoop, we now seek a star attorney to help us fight back once again in court.

The BLM offers, in its new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), to make toxic herbicides available to the Oregon district managers who want to wipe out plants they consider to be interfering with other plants, business and agicultural objectives or even (their idea of) esthetics. They propose to permit the use of toxics for any unwanted growth anywhere on BLM lands, and even on schoolgrounds leased from the BLM They are offering an expanded arsenal of toxics to BLM managers throughout Oregon, after an assessment is done. Some of the permitted herbicides, and some of the chemicals mixed with them, are carcinogenic.

The use of carcinogenic chemicals on our public lands ought to be unthinkable. Herbicides have been known to lodge in body fat, human organs, and breast milk ducts, which can result in ductal carcinoma, and/or poison baby’s first drink. Cancer kills more children under 15 than any other disease (American Cancer Society, 2009, which also predicted that 10,730 US children would be diagnosed with cancer in 2009) I don’t think this is from smoking or germs.

Our era is sometimes described as the “sixth era of planetary mass extinctions,” with about 20,000 species going extinct per year (Yale School of Forestry) The BLM now proposes to hasten this process and to further shrink biodiversity achieved through millions of years of evolution. Their insane plan would pollute the waters of BLM lands, which of course run down to waters everywhere, including the water you drink and that vital to the life of fish and animals. Spraying toxics would also threaten peoples who use certain wild plants for healing and eating. Direct hits or drift could poison the plants as well as the animals and people who consume them. The BLM has not taken precautions to protect plant gatherers and healers.

You own this land, the BLM only (mis) manages it. Protect yourself, call your district manager, and insist that you will not tolerate such exposure. We cannot predict the future, but we can help to determine it.

for our Earth,

Barbara Kelley, Director,
Save Our ecoSystems (SOS)


About imablog

Artist Musician video maker animator multi media Earth Soldier.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to the BLM v. the Public

  1. Thank you so much Barbara. Not just for all you are doing, in continuing to teach, enlighten and encourage those yet unaware, but also enlightening the next generation, as unfortunately this still continues after so many years. Thank you for your committed quest, that we FINALLY may have a life without toxic poisons. Toxins that have proven to destroy almost EVERYTHING in their path.
    How very sad that you have had to live through everything Rachel Carson warned us of, over 50 years ago, and the horrors that Carol Van Strum shared in a Bitter Fog, over 30 years ago.
    One can’t help but wonder how on earth or more importantly WHY on earth our state has allowed this to continue for so many years, knowing what they know and our long history of poisoning. Yet allowing the use and spraying of toxic poisons to continue over our water resources, land, throughout the air we must breathe, our food supply, on our roads, around our schools, within our parks, exposing our children over and over and over again, year after year. Or the fact the very agencies who were created for the sole purpose of protecting our water, land, air, and PEOPLE continue to challenge US, as if nothing could possibly be wrong with millions of pounds of toxic poisons being dumped upon an unsuspecting populous and the most vulnerable among us, our children. Challenging US, rather than acknowledging the readily available science regarding these toxins or that something might be seriously wrong with repeated use of such toxins, along with the sheer volume of which they allow them year after year after year. If small amounts are deadly what do they suppose millions of pounds of them have been doing to us for years? Or the fact NONE of them have been proven safe for our environment, let alone people. Or the horrific fact that they are allowing combinations to be used that have never been fathomed, let alone tested for any safety or harm issues. Or that EU dares not take such an irresponsible approach, rather using the “precautionary principle’ of doing no harm, in wanting to know they are safe first. Atrazine not allowed to be used in the EU since 2004, or that France still has it in its water after 20 years. It is not common sense to know something is safe first, when it comes to our water, land, air and the health of our state and its people? Apparently not in Oregon, it’s not. One could almost think we were being used as guinea pigs? Certainly in light of the Triangle Lake investigation, with 34 poisoned by the very toxins helicopters dumped into their neighborhoods, but it now choosing another STALL tactic, willing to let more poisoning continue so they can THEN test to see how this could possibly be happening, AFTER more exposure. As if it were not blatantly OBVIOUS. Yet Oregon is now apparently daring to force citizens to willingly expose themselves to MORE poisons, so this investigation can prove how they are getting poisoned.. Even as they REFUSE to run DRIFT studies, claiming lack of funding, yet acknowledging in July in all probability DRIFT was how people were being poisoned. Next they’ll say a little poison can go a long way, as in should pose no problem, knowing full well they have no clue how much it takes to create cancer in a few years or the list of other health issues now proven to be associated with toxins. One cigarette doesn’t kill you but years of exposure sure can.
    Please know how very grateful I am for you and so many others doing this work. Here in Southern Oregon a few of us just learned of this nightmare, this very year finding out the helicopters we were hearing or seeing were actually spraying toxins such as Atrazine in our neighborhoods. Then realizing they were going to do exactly that near Lake Selmac, but more importantly that they’ve been doing so throughout our valley for years. The helicopters initiated by foresters, continuing to claim no harm could possibly come from toxic poisons banned in the EU, because they follow the label instructions. Then too are Public Works and DOT spraying their toxins each and every year on our roads. So many poisons creating a stark reality one sure wishes we could wake up from.
    This insane nightmare must end. Thank you for all your efforts and work to make that happen..

  2. Diane Sontag says:

    Thank you for your never ending efforts to save our planet. You are one of my heroes, Barbara! I look forward to reading your book some day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s