BREAKING: Joint Statement from EPIC & Allies on Proposed PG&E Herbicide Spraying

Updated: Nov 1


PG&E plans to spray herbicides across Humboldt County at the sites marked in yellow. Photo from KMZ file from Redheaded Blackbelt.

On September 29, 2022, PG&E alerted Humboldt County that it was going to spray herbicides along its easements across the region. PG&E failed to alert landowners or tenants of this new threat; instead, local news broke the story just two days before spraying was set to commence. As of October 3, it appears that PG&E has postponed spraying and is requiring individuals to opt-in to the program. Many important details are still missing or are evidently still in flux.


We, like you, are alarmed by PG&E’s proposed herbicide spraying. The toxicants employed have a clearly established relationship with increased risk of disease, including cancer, and some have been banned in other countries as a result. Herbicide application is slated to start concurrent with the defined “wet period” in Humboldt County, risking runoff into adjacent streams. Humboldt County’s organic and cannabis farms are particularly at risk from spray drift, as even trace amounts of herbicides can ruin an entire year’s crop. Spray along roadsides places road users, particularly walkers and bikers, at risk and may contaminate wild-harvested foods, like berries, which can be picked from roadsides throughout the county. For these reasons and more, herbicide application has long been controversial in Humboldt County, with jurisdictions including Humboldt County and Arcata have adopted policies against herbicide application on their property.


EPIC and our allies oppose herbicide application without the express permission of landowners, their tenants and adjacent landowners where there is risk of spray drift, and without measures to protect users of public streets and roads.


We are at work to correct this situation and to reform larger processes to prevent similar incidents in the future. State law limits local jurisdictions ability to regulate herbicide application, however, we call on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a formal policy outlining its position regarding herbicide application. Email your Supervisor to register your concerns.


If you are concerned about herbicide application on your property, please contact PG&E at 1-800-564-5080 and email at treesafety@pge.com. PG&E has failed to provide readily usable maps where they will spray. A Google Earth file is available here. Redheaded Blackbelt and Soucy Biologique have provided maps for the community.


Tom Wheeler

Executive Director

EPIC


Caroline Griffith

Executive Director

Northcoast Environmental Center


Dan Chandler

Steering Committee Member

350 Humboldt


Colin Fiske

Executive Director

Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities


Alicia Hamann

Executive Director

Friends of the Eel River

Larry Glass

Executive Director

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment


Jen Kalt

Director

Humboldt Baykeeper


Patty Clary

Executive Director

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics