back to EBPA
Where is the Environmental Impact Report?
My name is Max Ventura. I'm a Chronic Effects Researcher for East Bay Pesticide Alert. As a mother of three children, two of whom were chemically injured by pesticide along with myself, and as an evacuee of the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991, which happened inspite of pesticide use, I know to be more afraid of pesticides than of another possible fire, no matter how traumatic.
The pesticides, specifically herbicides, which the City of Oakland is proposing to prevent wildfires pose serious long term threats to public health and our environment. We have provided you with extensive research detailing studies that link these chemicals to cancers, reproductive harm, thyroid disorders, and many other ailments, particularly in the workers applying them.
These chemicals are a threat to endangered species, as well as frogs, fish, beneficial insects, and small mammals. They have been proven to be mobile in the soil, measurable up to 3 years after application, spread by rain water run off, and have shown up in watersheds, groundwater, and even drinking water, which has caused several countries to consider restrictions on their use, including Denmark which is imposing a ban of one of the herbicides considered here.
Aside from these obvious threats to the wellbeing of Oakland, this proposal must be halted as a matter of law. Both the Sierra Club and the Friends of Sausal Creek are on record demanding the city produce an Environmental Impact Report, which is also required by the Endangered Species Act. As are Proposition 65 signs, which are not posted at the Regional Parks inspite of their use of pesticides which fall under its description.
This proposal is part of the Wildfire Prevention Assessment District, voted on and paid for by Oakland hills residents. Considering the long standing ban on pesticides, residents of the district had no way of expecting that their vote and their money would pave the way to a reversal of any ban in place at that time. The proposal was introduced as the fees of district residentís were due.
Not only are there other options, but some of the alternatives are crucial in the survival of Oaklandís native ecosystem. The native people of this land mastered the necessary skill of controlled burns to prevent devastating wildfires, thereby ensuring the survival of native plants dependent on fire, such as Oakland's own endangered Pallid Manzanita. Other alternatives are well managed goats, whose services would be lost if herbicides are used, hand pulling and cutting, corn starch, 10% vinegar, and many other benign substances and methods about which you've been informed by many parties including myself. Most importantly, it is the city government's responsibility to prioritize adequate funds for the fire department in their budget, rather than making outrageous cutbacks of these vital services.
The pesticide ban was a progressive measure envied by many other cities around the globe. Don't turn back the time on progress. I urge you to review the scientific research you hold in your hands, and let your vote on this issue reflect your responsibility for the people you serve. Do not reverse, but extend the ban on pesticide use in Oakland!