Ocean Swirls at Sunset

Pesticide Ban Put On Hold; Tourism Dollars Come To Florence; Storm Brings Power Outages

Pesticides Threaten Salmon

A trio of widely-used pesticides are threatening Northwest salmon and the orca that rely on them, even with these species on the brink of extinction. That’s according to a biological opinion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries office that the environmental law organization Earthjustice unveiled this week. The document is part of a 2017 court deadline requiring NOAA Fisheries to determine the threat these agricultural pesticides pose to salmon. Glen Spain is with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, which has been pushing back against the Environmental Protection Agency on the use of pesticides near rivers since a 2002 lawsuit.

“We require that our rivers, basically, are clean and that the salmon runs are healthy in order to survive as an industry, and the idea of putting more and more toxic chemicals in our rivers without any analysis is appalling.”

The report finds even low levels of runoff from these three pesticides – chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon – can cause abnormal development and impair the salmon’s ability to swim. The document suggests prohibiting the use of these pesticides near salmon habitat. The E-P-A asked for a two-year extension on the deadline for this biological opinion at the request of Dow Chemical, but that request wasn’t granted. Glen Spain says the E-P-A isn’t doing its job to protect the environment, which hurts Northwest fishers.

This administration is very gung-ho on talking about jobs and economic impacts. There is a huge economic impact on our industry, not to mention on the public health, of having rivers full of toxic chemicals that have been poorly tested or not tested at all and for which there are very simple solutions: to not put them in there in the first place.”

The E-P-A was proposed to ban chlorpyrifos’ use two years ago because of its harmful effects on children and workers who use the product. But the agency changed course when the Trump administration took over. E-P-A Chief Scott Pruitt says the agency will postpone a final decision on the pesticide until 2022.

Tourism Fuels Development

11 billion dollars, that is the amount of tourism dollars that is generated by coastal cities in Oregon and Florence is a large piece of that pie.  Keri Westlund, with Travel Lane County presented to the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon yesterday the positive impact that tourism has on our economy.  She says that the promotion of tourism over the years has been an education process and that in the beginning there were a lot of people that did not know about the beauty of the Oregon Coast.

“You go to the east coast now and people actually know where Oregon is and how to say it and that was not the case when arrived here years ago.”

According to Westlund, Florence has seen a healthy growth over the years and that growth has turned into far reaching benefits for the area.  For example the  benefit the room tax has afforded Florence.

“So your Florence Event Center was paid for completely by visitors.”

Westlund also added that the 1.7 million dollars contributed by the  county for the Revision Florence project was also monies collected by the state room tax.  She added that it is in part the location and part activities that make Florence an appealing destination for travelers.

Power Outages Plague Area

The storm that rolled through the Florence area yesterday contributed to several power outages including a large section north of town.  Homes in the Southview neighborhood were in the dark in the early hours of Thursday morning.  High winds and rain contributed to the disruption of electricity.  Central Lincoln PUD reported that a tree had fallen on lines south of Florence causing more power outages there.  Yachats also experienced an outage due to a large tree that took out a pair of feeder lines to the city.  Most power was returned by the end of the day.  One outage, according to Central Lincoln PUD, was particularly difficult.  That was the Lakeside community because the disconnect was only accessible by boat.  Mapleton and Sweet Creek also experienced small power outages.  The final repairs were completed at around 9 pm last night.