Prepare for Pesticide Spray Season - Part V: The Verdict: Violation or No Violation

| 6/4/2013 10:50:00 AM

Tags: pesticide drift, environmental toxins, Jane Heim,

scales of justiceIt’s grievous enough that you have a spray drift incident on your property, or worse yet, on yourself. But then, like Betty Gahm found out, even though you may be personally sprayed, the Department of Agriculture can find no spray drift violation.

What can a victim do (“complainant” to the Department of Agriculture), if he or she feels the enforcement agency’s “no violation” to the sprayer is incorrect? When I asked this question recently of Warren Goetsch, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Bureau Chief, here was his answer:

“As far as you disagreeing with the Department’s finding under the Illinois Administrative Procedures Act, there is no recourse that I am aware of.” Mr. Goetsch added, although he was not an attorney and wasn’t giving legal advice, “You could file a civil action suit and pursue it on your own.”

Then Mr. Goetsch quickly added, “Oh, you can bring additional evidence to us…”

Mr. Goetsch must have been reading my mind, as I was just going to bring up the Randy Hoovey case (see Part IV: The Wait). If you’ll remember, Randy had two spray drift incidents in 2012 one month apart each spraying glyphosate (RoundUp). When the second sprayer - the farmer - was issued a violation from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the farmer challenged it on the basis that Randy’s property had been sprayed about a month earlier with the same chemical. Therefore, to the farmer’s way of thinking, he had not over sprayed onto Randy’s property.

Hmmm, I wonder why this farmer came to that conclusion. Just because a different sprayer over-sprayed on a neighboring property before you did, doesn’t mean that your over-spray doesn’t count. But it must count, for the Department of Agriculture agreed with the farmer and rescinded the violation. The State rescinded the violation even though the newest samples taken by the State after the farmer sprayed showed Glyphosate on Randy’s property. (Remember…Monsanto says RoundUp dissipates extremely quickly.)

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