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Machias Valley News Observer, July 5, 2009

NEWS with VIEWS

by Nancy Oden

Here's Your Chance

Want to hear the blueberry "professors" from Orono tell the un-wild blueberry growers what's new? Have a question or two for them?

Once a year growers from New England and nearby Canada gather at the Blueberry Experimental Station in Jonesboro to guess how many blueberries they'll harvest, have a picnic, and socialize.

This happens NEXT WEDNESDAY, JULY 15. The official meeting starts at 10am, but if you want to greet these growers, perhaps ask them why they feel it's all right to poison everyone's water, you'd best get there around 9am.

The Blueberry Experimental Station is right on Route 1 in Jonesboro. This public property, paid for with our money, is where the University at Orono tests new poisons for chemical companies on our dime. Right above our watershed. Feel free to wander about the grounds; they're ours.

In recent years, due to demands, the experimental station has taken a few stabs at organic blueberry growing. They were given clean, organic blueberry land on which to do their experiments, and the first thing they did was spray it with Velpar, a toxic herbicide.

A serious organic grower would have run sheep on the land first to eat the grasses, but the "professors" choose poisons. That's where their bread is buttered-they act as "consultants" to chemical companies for large sums of money--and they're not going to let the health of local people get in their way.

There's Velpar in the Machias town water supply, too, because local growers spray near the town's water supply intake. "Not enough to hurt you," they say, parroting the chemical companies, pretending they actually know, which they don't.

Truth is, most pesticide studies are done only by the chemical companies, which use dogs, cats, mice, rats, and rabbits, and pour their poisons into the helpless creatures' eyes, stomachs, skin and veins to see the effects. What sort of person does that work?

The federal Environmental Protection Agency does not have the money or power to test these poisons since their regulations have been eaten away by the ever-hungry, parasitic chemical company appointees masquerading as EPA employees.

See story elsewhere this issue on more pesticide damage to us and other species.

One result of exposure to Velpar, as stated right on the label, is "irreversible eye damage." Irreversible, and Velpar is in the water you're using to wash your children's faces, bathe, drink, and cook. Let that fact alone give you the courage to challenge them; ask why they even need poisons to grow blueberries, which grow everywhere around here all by themselves.

Tell the growers we're tired of subsidizing their greed with our health.

Another Velpar fact: it's an herbicide so it kills plants. Blueberries are tough so they survive the onslaught for a while, but now you can see huge dead zones where the sprayers have poured too much, even for blueberries. Nothing will grow there excepting, perhaps, the alien grass the growers brought in, which has taken over many fields, killing their own Golden Goose.

Since Velpar is also in our coastal waters, it kills the algae needed as nourishment by the creatures we harvest for food. A fisherman told me the other day he'd noticed a real drop-off in marine life once a blueberry grower started spraying right on the coast. Not legal, but it's done routinely because no one stops them.

Again, the Blueberry Experimental Station is public property so you have every right to be there, especially since blueberries grow everywhere, including, of course, on your land. That means we're all blueberry growers.

Speak up, do right, and risk consequences. We're talking about our survival here.

Nancy Oden's email is .

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