The following is a report regarding the use of Roundup weed killer by the DOT on roadsides near the community of Dixon. Spraying also occurred in our watershed near Abiquiu. If you would like to submit a comment of concern to the DOT, please use the link for Paul Brasher at the end of the article. At this stage (and before next year’s spray schedule is developed), the more voices of concern, the better. RACC will be submitting a formal comment letter stating that we will not accept the spraying of toxic chemicals in our watershed. Along with that statement, we will be siting scientific evidence that this weed killer is detrimental to the watershed ecosystem.
Dixon Community Takes Stand Against Roundup
A well-attended community forum to address the recent spraying of the chemical Roundup in the local area was held Thursday night,Sept 7th at the Dixon Library. Local Embudo Valley organic farmers and Dixon residents voiced concerns to several Dept. of Transportation representatives and made it very clear that the community would not tolerate the spraying of Roundup near their homes and farms.
The World Health Organization has classified Roundup as “probably” cancer-causing. Other studies have linked 2, 4-D, a chemical in Roundup, with immune and neurological system problems.
Several testimonials from community members regarding DOT spraying in June revealed that no visible notice that spraying would be taking place was issued. In one case, a Dixon resident got out of her car to confront the operator of a DOT spray operation and was her self sprayed from Roundup residue in the air. A recent Taos News article told the story of someone being sprayed in the face when they opened their window. A DOT representative openly admitted that one of the drivers did not have a required wind meter in his vehicle.
One Dixon resident tried to explain to the DOT officials that Dixon has moved beyond weed killers and that local organic farmers live their lives dealing with weeds on a regular basis without the use of harmful chemicals.
According to DOT officials at the meeting, their crew is not required to use Roundup, a government EPA sanctioned chemical, to remove roadside weeds in their efforts to protect safe right of ways on our roads and highways. While defensive at first about the use of this time-saving chemical to help them “get the job done”, it was clear by the end of the forum that they were willing to work with the Dixon community to look for other solutions to the roadside weed problem (the worst of which is Siberian Elm). They stated that they do realize there might be impacts to people and water and they wanted to work together and come up with solutions.
If you would like to have the DOT come out to your property and discuss other options to Roundup spraying on nearby roadsides, you can contact Paul Brasher from New Mexico Dept. of Transportation. He is the acting District Engineer and he seemed very open to walking to sites of concern with community members and trying to come up with alternative solutions to spraying. Paul can be contacted via email at Paul.Brasher@state.nm.us or by phone at 505-955-7712 or 505-469-2149.
The Dixon community is now organizing to take the issue county-wide and will work for legislation that completely bans the use of chemicals like Roundup by the DOT in Rio Arriba Co. For more information you can contact Sheena Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org.