June 17, 2004
Wednesday's hearing in Anchorage followed public hearings on the Klukwan Pesticide Permit held earlier in the month in Ketchikan, Hydaburg, and Craig by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
"Aerial spraying of pesticides can't be controlled, and is never safe for people, fish or wildlife, said Senator Ellis. "Alaskans say no to aerial spraying, and demand better notice for any pesticide use. That's why these hearings and public input are so important.
Last year, the State of Alaska said aerial spraying could harm public health and fisheries. Now, the state says the project is harmless. Ellis expressed concern that this project will set the standard for aerial pesticide spraying on millions of acres of forest across the state.
"The Long Island project will set a precedent allowing chemicals to be sprayed from the air, said Ellis. "I believe this action may very well harm the marketing of our healthy wild salmon and runs counter to marketing efforts supported by the state.
The public meeting on aerial pesticide spraying took place Wednesday, June 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office and was teleconferenced statewide.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has heard public testimony from concerned Southeast Alaskans about plans to aerially-spray chemicals linked to human health problems and fish kills over forest lands near Prince of Wales Island. Every one of the several dozens testifiers, from loggers, fishermen, Native leaders, to children, spoke against aerial spraying for forestry management purposes.
To date, the Southeast Alaska Regional Federal Subsistence Advisory Council, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska, Seafood Producers Cooperative, Klukwan and other SE tribal governments, Prince of Wales Community Advisory Council, cities of Craig, Tenakee Springs, Hydaburg and Port Alexander, and numerous other organizations have worked on resolutions and letters opposing the proposed aerial pesticide spraying. NFMS, ADF&G & USFWS have all raised questions with the regulations or the proposed spraying.
"Alaskans love pure, healthy waters, berries, game, and fisheries - we deserve a full hearing," said Ellis.
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