President Donald Trump has pledged to reduce red tape and regulations for businesses in the United States. It is a worthy goal, but it has led to some curious decisions. For example, the Administration just tossed a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets. This rule however was supported by the fishing industry. Thus, this was a rare case where conservationists and corporations agreed. It was the Trump Administration that did not agree. Not only was the rule proposed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council had proposed the new regulation in 2015, but the federal government has been implementing the plan.
This is the type of thing that I find thrilling. An effort to preserve a hut at Cape Adare in Antarctica led to the discovery of this beautiful 118-year-old painting by Dr. Edward Wilson. The British polar explorer died in Antarctica on an expedition led by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott. This incredible picture sat in a pile of papers unnoticed for over a century.
As many of you know, I like to do dawn hikes particularly on the Billy Goat Trail outside of Washington. I had to share this amazing turtle from this morning. While it is hard to gauge its size, it was huge for a river turtle (almost three feet in length). Indeed, the biggest I have seen outside of the Pacific islands. It was well inland on Bear Island on the side of a boulder.
In fulfillment of his campaign promise, President Donald Trump has defied the world and pulled our country out of the Paris Accord. The United States will now join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries outside of the agreement. You really cannot include Nicaragua because it did not sign in protest of the agreement not going far enough (a valid objection). That leaves us and our environmental fellow traveler, Syria.
In terms of delivery, I thought this was one of Trump’s stronger speeches though MIT scientists say that he got their data wrong. Other experts noted that Trump was wrong on the details of the agreement regarding China’s commitments as well as its costs to the United States.
Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.
The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.
I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Yesterday I fielded an article concerning a rather distressing mandate by an Oregon county weed control agency seeking to force the application of hazardous herbicides onto a 2,000 acre organic farm owned by Azure Farms. Sherman County Oregon maintains this scorched earth policy is necessary to abate, or more specifically “eradicate”, weeds listed by state statute as noxious.
Now, the scientific community is responding to this overreaching government action by acting in the interests of health and responsible environmental stewardship through advocacy in the hopes that officials in Sherman County will reconsider their mandate.
Dr. Charles Benbrook is a highly credentialed research professor and expert serving on several boards of directors for agribusiness and natural resources organizations. Having read news of Sherman County’s actions, he penned an authoritative response I believe will make informative reading for those concerned by present and future implications in the forced use of herbicides under the rubric of noxious weed eradication, and the damage to organic farming generally arising from such mandates.