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Progressive Action Tillamook and the Rockaway Beach Citizens for Watershed Protection join forces to provide a public forum on the safety of out drinking water.

“This is about community water quality,” said Miel Macassey, forum organizer. “We are working toward a state-wide ban of aerial spraying near our sensitive watersheds.”

The two groups have coupled to provide the community a public forum which will involve the screening of a short film called “Behind the Emerald Curtain,” which demonstrates what can happen to citizen watersheds when unprotected from logging and aerial spraying. Afterward an expert panel discussion will take place addressing the various effects that can happen as a result to those types of industrial activities.

With invited guests like Dr. Susan Katz, MD, from the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility; Jason Gonzales, who represents the conservation organization Oregon Wild; and Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, an advocacy group for responsible forest practices.

The theme of the panel will be to discuss and review the number of concerns that arise from the effects of the aerial spraying of herbicide and pesticides on public and privately held timberlands. Currently there is a ban on such activities in the State of Washington but Oregon does not have a similar law. This forum is aimed at the eventual goal of following other areas by enacting a ban on the spraying of dangerous chemicals in and around watersheds that are used by surrounding communities.

“We are not against forestry as an industry,” said Macassey. “This is about keeping our drinking water safe and working with existing industry to make that happen.”

Dr. Katz has spent a great deal of professional capital studying the effects of toxic chemicals on health, her expertise resides in and around the realm of pediatric health. Gonzales works to organize efforts in and around the Coast Range of Oregon by working with communities facing threats to their water quality. The forum hopes to provide a common sense approach to this contentious topic.

A question and answer session afterward is planned as well as snacks and refreshments for all who wish to come, it is free for the public to attend.

The forum will take place on Oct. 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and will be held at the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District, located on Hwy 101 south in Hebo.

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