I am writing in defense of clean drinking water, healthy salmon habitat and the voice of the Alaskan people.
The current state of the pesticide permitting process (catastrophically altered in 2013 by the Parnell administration) makes it simple for herbicides to be applied to state lands with no regard to public input or the proximity of water sources. Furthermore, the notification of pesticide applications does not occur within a sufficient amount of time: an issue of both public health and democracy.
House Bill 201 would amend the dangerous and autocratic conditions of the current permitting process, restoring the voice of the people with public comment periods and notification of pesticide applications with clearly defined announcements both on the physical location and within the affected communities themselves. The bill would also add buffer zones to both salmon habitat and drinking water sources, protecting valuable cultural and economic resources.
I urge Alaskans to speak out in defense of public health and democracy through support of HB201.
Abbey VandenBerg, age 17
Student, Juneau-Douglas High School