Local environmental groups share what they know about PG&E’s current herbicide plans | Lost Coast Outpost

On September 29, 2022, PG&E alerted Humboldt County that it was going to spray herbicides along its easements in the area. PG&E did not alert property owners or tenants to this new threat; instead, local news broke the story just two days before the spraying began.

Today, it appears PG&E has postponed the spray and is forcing individuals to join the program. Many important details are still missing or are obviously still in development.

Like you, we are alarmed by PG&E’s herbicide spraying proposal. The toxic substances used have a clearly established relationship with an increased risk of disease, including cancer, and some have therefore been banned in other countries. Herbicide application should begin at the same time as the defined “wet period” in Humboldt County, risking runoff into adjacent waterways. Organic and cannabis farms in Humboldt County are particularly at risk from spray drift, as even trace amounts of herbicides can ruin an entire year’s crop. Spraying along roads endangers road users, especially walkers and cyclists, and can contaminate wild-harvested foods, such as berries, which can be picked from roadsides across the county . For these reasons and more, herbicide application has long been controversial in Humboldt County, with jurisdictions such as Humboldt County and Arcata having adopted policies against the application of herbicides on their property.

Our organizations oppose the spreading of herbicides without the express authorization of owners, their tenants and neighboring owners in the event of a risk of spray drift and without measures to protect users of public roads and paths. We are working to correct this situation and reform broader processes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. State law limits the ability of local jurisdictions to regulate herbicide application, however, we call on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a formal policy outlining its position regarding herbicide application. Email your supervisor to register your concerns.

If you are concerned about the application of herbicides to your property, please contact PG&E at 1-800-564-5080 and email treesafety@pge.com. PG&E didn’t provide easily usable maps where they’ll spray. A Google Earth file is available here. Redheaded Blackbelt and Soucy Biologique provided maps to the community.

Tom Wheeler
Executive Director

Caroline Griffith
Executive Director
North Coast Environmental Center

Dan Chandler
Member of the steering committee
350 Humboldts

Colin Fisk
Executive Director
Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities

Alicia Haman
Executive Director
Friends of the River Eel

Glass of Larry
Executive Director
Safe alternatives for our forest environment

Jen Kalt
Guardian of Humboldt Bay

Patty Claire
Executive Director
Californians for alternatives to toxics

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