Environment
12:21 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Report calls for reduction in chemical spraying on Oregon highways

The Eugene-based Oregon Toxics Alliance has published a report that looks at pesticide use on 5 state highways in Lane County. The organization wants the state to reduce its use of chemicals along roadways.

The OTA report uses a mathematical calculation developed at Cornell University to measure environmental impacts of pesticide use in agriculture. It adapted the method for highway spraying. OTA based its findings on state reports. Executive Director Lisa Arkin says the Randy Pape' Beltline in Eugene Springfield had the most pesticide applications. She's concerned, since the 10-mile road gets a lot of traffic.

"We all need to work with Oregon agencies to reduce pesticides in the environment so that we are not exposing ourselves and also getting these chemicals into our waters," Arkin said.

Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Little says the agency uses an integrated approach to control noxious weeds along roadsides.

"We feel that we are already on that path although I will say that we enjoy working with Oregon toxics alliance and we find their work to be very helpful in providing us with perspective that they bring and they're very creative and have very good ideas," Little said.

Little says ODOT has reduced their use of herbicides by 58 percent since 2004. He says their goal is to cut down by another 25 percent in the next four years.

Copyright 2011 KLCC.

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