Aerial spraying of chemicals on farm fields is the focus of a special public hearing scheduled for September by the Illinois Senate agriculture committee. The public is invited to submit both oral and written testimony.
Aerial spraying of chemicals on farm fields is the focus of a special public hearing scheduled for September by the Illinois Senate agriculture committee.
The public is invited to submit both oral and written testimony.
Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, worked with Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, on assessing the need for a public hearing. The two determined that there are enough questions about the incidence of chemical drift and about the health ramifications that a public hearing is justified.
"I have concerns. I have received too many reports, phone calls and e-mails from people hit with chemical spray," Koehler said. "I have not jumped to any conclusion about what needs to be done."
Koehler said if testimony in September indicates a significant problem, the most likely next step would be formation of a subcommittee that would schedule more public hearings throughout the state.
Koehler said the September hearing most likely will be at the Capitol building in Springfield, with date and time to be announced soon. He encourages people to submit written testimony, even if they plan to attend and testify orally before the committee.
Written testimony can be submitted using the link on Koehler's Web page, www.senatordavekoehler.com or by mailing the statement to Sen. David Koehler, District Office, 13 S. Capitol St., Pekin, IL 61554.
Koehler said, "In some cases, chemical drift has affected organic vegetable growers. This jeopardizes their livelihood. In other cases, it involved people adjacent to farm fields. There is enough concern raised by my constituents to merit a public hearing."
Earlier this summer, Maine passes legislation requiring farmers to communicate with adjacent property owners about chemical use and to notify adjacent property owners before aerial applications. Anyone within a quarter mile can also elect to be on a mandatory notification registry.
After an incident last year involving chemical drift on two children in his district, Illinois Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, proposed a resolution that will enable the public to learn on a 24-7 basis what chemicals might be involved in a potential misapplication.
Clare Howard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.