PORT TOWNSEND — About a dozen Jefferson County residents spoke out at the Jefferson commissioners meeting Monday against the aerial spraying of herbicides containing glyphosate by Pope Resources.
Those who spoke at public comment were a mix of members of the Jefferson County Environmental Coalition, the Kitsap County Environmental Coalition and concerned residents, but all of those who spoke on the topic were opposed to Pope Resources conducting aerial spraying within Jefferson County.
Maps of the aerial spraying zones in Jefferson County can be found at https://www.pope neighbor2neighbor.com/jefferson-maps.
Pope is also using ground-based backpack teams to apply herbicides in places where the company can’t use aerial applications.
Members of the community have been speaking out against Pope’s chemical spraying at the weekly county commissioners meetings since the first meeting this month on Aug. 5.
The residents all asked the commissioners to take action and stop Pope from applying the herbicides due to concerns of illness that could be caused if over-spraying occurred and due to concerns that the herbicide could make it into City Lake, which is an equalizing reservoir in the water supply for the city of Port Townsend.
Gail Chatfield of Jefferson County asked commissioners David Sullivan and Greg Brotherton to protect the residents of the county from Pope Resources’ actions. Commission Chair Kate Dean was absent from Monday’s meeting.
“You have a duty to protect the water and the people of this county,” Chatfield said. “You should figure out how to do that. Pope has 7,000 acres in this county. You must do something to stop this.”
At the same time as the commission meeting, members of the Jefferson Environmental Coalition were protesting the aerial spraying from near Pope land along state Highway 20, south of Anderson Lake Road.
Carol Price of the Kitsap Environmental Coalition also spoke during public comment, describing how Kitsap County banned aerial spraying of glyphosate this year and that the Jefferson Commissioners should do so as well, especially to protect the water supply.
“The poisoning of water anywhere is unacceptable,” Price said.
District 3 Commissioner Greg Brotherton was acting chair of the meeting and he explained that the commission has been taking steps to gain more information regarding the spraying and communicating with Pope about community concerns, but the process is slow.
“I’m sorry it’s not the pace you want,” Brotherton said. “But it doe not mean we’re not asking.”
Brotherton is reluctant to take action in regard to the spraying until he has all information available, much to the dislike of the audience at the meeting.
“I’m not willing to jump in front of the train until I have all the information,” Brotherton said.
District 2 Commissioner David Sullivan said the board is looking into solutions, but it does take time.
“There are real limits to what we can do to stop this,” Sullivan said. “We do hear you and know about the situation.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].