Will Governor Parnell be the first governor in 26 years to allow herbicide spraying on the Alaska railroad?

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION ACCEPTING PUBLIC COMMENT THROUGH JUNE 24 ON A REQUEST FOR AN ADJUDICATORY HEARING AND A REQUEST FOR A STAY OF THE SPRAYING
THIS IS TO URGE YOU TO COMMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUESTS

Last summer 106 respondents statewide commented to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) in OPPOSITION to the Alaska Railroad Corporation’s (ARRC) pesticide permit application to spray the glyphosate herbicide Aquamaster and the surfactant Agri-Dex on track locations between Bird and Seward, including 30 acres in the Seward yard. There were 17 public comments supporting the application.
 
On April 30, 2010, the ADEC gave Permit #10-SOL-01 to the Alaska Railroad to spray. The permit is valid for 2 years and does allow for repeat spraying in one season.
On 6/1/10 the public interest law firm
Trustees for Alaska filed a Request for an Adjudicatory Hearing and a request for a stay of the permit on behalf of 7 community groups, the Native Village of Eklutna and 1 business. (see Press Release)

1. Currently. The ADEC has opened a public comment period to end the close of business day on June 24 on whether the Commissioner of ADEC should grant the Request for an Adjudicatory Hearing and a Request to Stay (stop) the spraying pending the Adjudicatory Hearing process.
2. The Request for an Adjudicatory Hearing is an administrative appeal of the ADEC Pesticide Permit.
3. Comments could focus on the risk of harm through negative environmental and human health impacts from the herbicide and that there are other methods of vegetation control that could be used. Comments can be as short or as long as you wants.
4. Email address for comments:
Gary.Mendivil@alaska.gov
5. Mailing address: Gary Mendivil, Office of the Commissioner, ADEC, PO Box 111800, Juneau, AK 99811-1800
6. It would be good to cc Governor Sean Parnell and/or send a separate email to him because if the spray occurs, he will be the first Governor since the Jay Hammond Administration to allow spraying on the railroad. And after all, he is running for reelection so the public needs to make this a campaign issue.
Email address:
Governor@alaska.gov or send an email on his website: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/contact/email-the-governor.html
Mailing address: PO Box 110001, Juneau, AK 99811-0001
 
This is a statewide issue. Recently, ARRC Spokesperson Stephanie Wheeler said in a 6/8/10 KTNA Public Radio interview that the railroad hopes to incorporate this permit into a much broader herbicide application program throughout the railbelt. And other state agencies such as the Alaska Department of Transportation are watching the developments. If spraying occurs, it will be ending the 1978 ban by then Governor Hammond on the use of herbicides by state agencies.
The Request focuses on contamination of water by the chemicals. ADEC claims that on June 25,2009, its staff traveled the entire railway between Seward and Indian stating that they saw no water bodies in the proposed spray areas. But the public has seen many ponds, lakes, streams, and wetlands within 100 foot of the tracks in areas the railroad intends to spray. In addition, there are private wells within 200 feet of the permit area not shown in the pesticide application. The tracks border the Kenai Lake, several of its tributaries, as well as the Placer River, Portage Creek and crosses sever channels of 20 mile. The Kenai River headwaters and hooligan waters in Turnagain Arm are directly in the path of the spraying. As the ADEC itself previously has observed, "any spray method, no matter how precaution, would likely result in the proposed herbicides reaching waters of the state."

New data has emerged in 2009 from the current US Environmental Protection Agency Reregistration Processrocess of the herbicide glyphosate that shows contamination of surface water can both in the short and long term cause many human health impacts, and that glyphosate also can have residual effects on fish and aquatic environments with the effects compounded by certain natural environmental conditions such as high sedimentation levels, temperature, pH levels, and water chemistry.
There is mounting evidence that is showing that pesticides have interactive effects and adverse health effects at extremely low levels below the EPA allowable levels. These effects include adverse neurological, endocrine, immune, reproductive, and developmental health outcomes.