Letter to the editor: Conservation commissioner takes issue with editorial

The Salisbury Conservation Commission was extremely disappointed to read Angelo Lynn’s editorial entitled, “Insect Control District’s mistake, or a nuisance suit by a relentless opponent?” As a Commission we had serious concerns about the BLSG and wrote a letter to our selectboard asking them to put the question about the legal expense to the taxpayers. We did not do this lightly.
I have stood behind the Addison Independent as a quality newspaper but this editorial was not an example of a well-written piece. It bothered me for several reasons. First, the publication date did not allow any concerted timely response before our town vote on Tuesday. Secondly, not all the information is correct in the editorial. Lynn is totally wrong in presenting that $5,000 increase in legal costs would be split between the 5-member towns or roughly $1,000 more per town compared to the prior year.
A question was raised to Ben Lawton at the Salisbury Town Meeting about Salisbury not getting an application of larvacide last year. Larvacide application is the most effective and safest way to control mosquitoes. What exactly do we get for our money?
If Mr. Lynn had been following Front Porch Forum, he would notice numerous articles on this topic. Yes, some are from Chris Fastie but many others are not. If you take the time to read them all, you will notice this is a complex issue that is very troubling to many residents. It is easy to jump to conclusions or just say what has happened in the past by the BLSG should continue. That is wrong. Mr. Lynn comments that Chris Fastie uses fear tactics to drum up support. I have found Moosalamoo Woods and Waters website (mwwvt.org/) to be much more factual than the one maintained by the BLSG (blsgmosquito.wordpress.com/).
One example is where the BLSG has extensive information on the Zika virus, which has not been found in Vermont. A representative on the BLSG got reprimanded by the Deputy Secretary of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets for incorrectly stating that the Zika virus was found in a Vermont mosquito in an editorial to the Rutland Herald. This is an example where fear is being used to influence people. The state of Vermont monitors for mosquito carried diseases and makes judgments based on scientific data. This is not the role of the BLSG.
Five bat species, including two that are listed as federally threatened or endangered, live in the BLSG insect control district. They eat mosquitoes and other flying insects. The adulticides used by the BLSG kill mosquitoes and any other insect in its path. Why wouldn’t we look at the possible effects on these animals? The larger question is why the lawsuit is occurring, why the state didn’t fight it and why is the BLSG fighting it?
I am asking that the Addison Independent take this opportunity to take a deeper and closer look at this issue. There is much more to it. Investigative reporting would involve speaking with all sides involved from different state offices, the BLSG, residents for and against spraying adulticides, Toxic Action and digging deep into the scientific research about best practices with mosquito control. I challenge the Addison Independent take a closer look at this issue and really dive into the facts and fallacies around mosquito control.
Barbara Karle
Salisbury Conservation Commission Member

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