Letter to the editor: BLSG lawsuit should proceed

I don’t believe the recent suit against the Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen, Pittsford, Insect Control District (BLSG) should be dismissed as a nuisance lawsuit. Some of the older members on the BLSG board argue that they have been using the same chemicals and killing mosquitos in essentially the same way for years with no issues and they seem resentful that their methods and permit applications have been challenged.
I believe they have been using some practices and writing permits that should not have been approved for some years. I also believe that it is in all our interests that they have now been challenged and it is time for them to update their practices. The fact that the Toxics Action Center is suing, that Vermont Law School is providing support, that the state of Vermont is not willing to defend the BLSG in the suit, that former Salisbury members of the BLSG board resigned in frustration, and that a growing group of Salisbury residents has expressed concerns, should at least cause us to carefully investigate the BLSG’s current practices and decision making procedures.
Back in the 60s I was talking to the guy who was spraying mosquitos around our Lake Dunmore camp. He told me that the chemical he was spraying would kill everything from bullfrogs to butterflies. At that time they were spraying DDT. Obviously since then we have learned about the dangers of that chemical and moved to safer alternatives.
As I see it, this same process continues. We continue to learn more of the unwanted impacts of the chemicals we use after we have been using them for some time. I believe once again it is time for us to update our mosquito-spraying program and move to the option safest for us and all the other critters that make up the healthy working ecosystems around us. I think it is time for us to stop using anything other than the larvicide Bti. This is the safest option and fortunately for us, it is also the most effective in controlling mosquitos. The downside is that it is expensive. The safety of humans and wildlife comes at a price, but I think it is a price we should seriously consider.
To me the logical course of action would be for the BLSG to withdraw their application, update their practices and permit requests to the point where the state of Vermont would defend them, and the Vermont Law School, Toxics Action Center and local citizens, would not be inclined to support the suit. I don’t believe district towns should be paying the bills for ongoing legal battles that could last a very long time, be very expensive, and would not be necessary if the BLSG would simply bring its permit writing and practices up to modern safety standards. There are neighboring mosquito control programs (Lemon Fair Insect Control District) that are not being sued. Let’s take a close look at using their practices.
In order to more effectively control mosquitos, do it in the safest way, and respect those of our neighbors who do not want to breathe in pesticides, I strongly believe we should all take this challenge seriously. The legal action against BLSG is justified and will only make the program safer and more effective for humans and healthy ecosystems.
Jim Andrews

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