Man fined for drifting pesticides

By Pat Sunderland

Delta District Court has imposed a $7,500 fine and two days in jail on a Hotchkiss man accused of fogging mosquitoes within 150 feet of neighboring property.

"We have been fighting to protect our health from renegade pesticide spraying for over two years," said Rosemary Bilchak, one of two co-defendants in the case.

She established an organic farm with Gordon MacAlpine, who has a rare form of leukemia, after evidence from his oncologist suggested that pesticide exposures are immunosuppressive. They obtained a permanent injunction against James Hopper in 2012, which they say Hopper violated.

Randall Weiner, an environmental lawyer from Boulder, prosecuted the contempt violation on behalf of the Bilchak family. He noted this may be the first time a jail sentence has been imposed for violation of pesticide spray rules.

Hopper was represented by attorney Matthew Weeber. Two additional findings of punitive contempt for spraying pesticides in August 2012 were set aside.