Orchard City residents upset over new federal regulations that have brought an end to the town's popular and successful aerial mosquito spraying program are blaming the Environmental Protection Agency for having to live with the constant fear of West Nile Virus infection from insect bites, and for new human cases of WNV in Orchard City this year.
Town trustee Jan Gage told the DCI in an e-mail, "We must figure out a way to get the EPA to allow aerial spraying before more people die!"
Earlier this year the Orchard City Town Board went on record with a unanimous resolution to repeal the new EPA regulations so that aerial spraying can again be used.
That resolution was carried to Rep. Scott Tipton by Mayor Don Suppes. Suppes reported, "There isn't going to be any change until a change is made in the White House and Senate."
At the Orchard City town board's Sept. 12 meeting, resident Max DeBusk told the trustees that he wants to see the EPA's anti-aerial spraying regulations repealed so that the effective program of aerial spraying that Orchard City adopted from 2004 until this year can be reinstituted.
Gage is only one of the trustees who intends to pursue the issue and sees a community-based campaign as the best option. "I truly believe we can make a difference and it is probably going to take a grass-roots campaign to make it happen. But next year I expect to be able to stand before my constituents and tell them we did everything we possible could to resolve this issue. If I am unsuccessful, at least I want to have a clear conscience."
The town's budget included funds for aerial spraying this year, funds that have gone unspent because the EPA's regulations have made aerial application too risky in terms of legal liability for the local service to attempt.
The town board will leave that money in its budget next year in hopes that the program can be restarted.blog comments powered by Disqus