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Recently, there has been a mysterious epidemic involving black billed chickadees in Anchorage and Ontario, Canada. The beaks grow so fast and unevenly that they cannot feed or preen themselves or their young. They spread disease among other birds and cross-contaminate to humans. Many ornithologists believe that the birds developed this disorder from eating the bark of trees contaminated with pesticides that were airborne from perhaps as far as 3,000 miles away.
Klukwan's herbicide proposal is a test case for the whole state. Larger corporations like Sealaska are waiting to see how strongly Alaskans object to toxic chemicals on our land. Aside from all the problems with drift and contamination of fish, berries, deer and water in an area where people continue to live off the land, what about the costs that the state will incur when it is taken to court by a private entity or worse, an environmental activist group? Who will pay the liability if there is a negative impact?
Alaska cannot afford to allow aerial pesticide spraying or any pesticide use. Alaskans need to become aware of the negative health and environmental effects of pesticide use within our land, air and waters. Please comment against pesticide use of Klukwan's plans by calling the DEC, Division of Environmental Health, at 1-800-478-2577 or e-mail Rosemarie_Lombardi@dec.state.ak.us by June 21.
Shawn P. O'Neil