Applebee Aviation, Aerial Spraying and Toxic Exposure

By Miki Barnes, LCSW
May 29, 2015

A 5/20/15 Oregonian article by Rob Davis sheds light on the serious health threat posed by reckless aerial spraying. In this case, “Darryl Ivy, a truck driver for Applebee Aviation, repeatedly took shelter in his truck to avoid being sprayed with weed killers from a helicopter.” Ivy provided more than 200 phone videos documenting his experience. After being exposed to these toxins, Ivy developed persistent respiratory symptoms and started coughing up blood. He was later diagnosed with acute chemical exposure and acute contact dermatitis.[1]

Applebee Aviation (AAI) located in Buxton, Oregon is owned by Mike Applebee. According to the company website, “AAI invests in state of the art application equipment allowing them to accurately and efficiently apply the product needed while making as little negative impact to the environment as possible.”[2] However,the Oregonian report referenced above suggests otherwise.

“Applebee pilots have sprayed illegally before, Agriculture Department enforcement records show. An Applebee pilot doused a Hillsboro cyclist with an insecticide in 2010 but was not fined, state records show. The company was found in violation as well, but wasn't fined either. Last year, state records show, another Applebee pilot allowed weed killers to drift 400 feet into a neighbor's front yard during a Seneca Jones spray operation in Douglas County. Several people complained of being sickened. The pilot and the company were each penalized $407. The pilot could have gotten a bigger fine for driving 36 mph in a 25 mph zone.”[1]

To address the concerns of residents negatively impacted by chemical exposure resulting from aerial spraying, Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow and Representative Ann Lininger introduced Senate Bill 613 (SB 613). Per Oregonian reporter, Rob Davis, SB 613 included three key provisions:

"1. The state Board of Forestry would be required to set protective no-spray buffers around homes and schools. None exist today.
2. Timber companies would have to notify neighbors before spraying. Today, neighbors often must listen for approaching helicopters as their only warning.
3. Timber companies would have to disclose what and where they sprayed. Currently, companies must maintain those records and turn them over to the state only on request."[3]

Unfortunately the efforts of Dembrow and Lininger were undermined by fellow Democrats in key positions whose ties to the timber and chemical sector far exceeded their commitment to the environment as well as the health and well being of the community. Two of the major players who were influential in assuring that SB 613 fell by the wayside were recipients of generous campaign contributions from the industries in question. Brad Witt, a state representative from Clatskanie received $50,000 from timber and chemical special interests. Since 2006, the Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee, Chris Edwards, has been the recipient of more than $25,000 from the timber industry. Salem Democratic Senator, Brian Clem also blocked efforts to protect residents from aerial spraying.[3]

Federal Regulations on Hazardous Aerial Spraying of Persons or Properties on the Ground

Yet regardless of the failure of the Oregon legislature to develop safeguards to protect Oregon residents, there do appear to be federal standards. Whether or not they are enforced is another question entirely. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAA) Part 137.35 states, “No persons may dispense, or cause to be dispensed, from an aircraft, any material or substance in a manner that creates a hazard to persons or property on the surface.”[4]

Advisory Circular 137-1A, which explains the certification process for agricultural aircraft operations, further elaborates on this issue:

(2) The pilot should brief the groundcrew concerning the chemical being used and the necessary protective clothing. The protective equipment (rubber gloves, apron, boots, respirator, etc.) should be tailored to the environment and particular chemical in use. When using flaggers, pilots should be able to brief them concerning the potential hazard of the pesticide being dispensed, and should indicate that they equip themselves with the appropriate protective equipment. (3) Pilots should also be aware that persons working closely with or handling pesticides should change clothes and bathe at the end of the operation, or immediately if the pesticide contacts their skin. Persons handling pesticides should wear clean work clothes daily.[5]

As noted by Davis in the 5/20/15 Oregonian article, “If such chemicals land on workers' clothes, they're supposed to take them off and wash their skin for 15 minutes. Ivy said he was never told that. He wore the same clothes for three days before realizing that might be the reason his skin felt itchy.”[1]

According to Chapter 1 of Advisory Circular 137-1A, before being approved for certification, applicants are expected to demonstrate a knowledge of the rules and regulations pertaining to the handling of “economic poisons.” Chapter 1 also addresses recordkeeping requirements as well as the reasons for revoking certification including “unsafe operating procedures or practices.” [6]

Applebee Aviation Helicopter Accidents

In addition to aerial pesticide violations there have been a number of accidents linked to helicopters registered to Applebee Aviation. See the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aviation query site for details:[7]

  • On 7/23/14 a pilot died while involved in a helicopter agricultural operation in Wenatchee, Washington.
  • On 11/14/11 a pilot sustained serious injuries while loading Christmas trees in Woodburn, Oregon.
  • On 7/12/11 a helicopter crashed during an agricultural operation in Wenatchee, Washington.
  • On 6/23/10 a helicopter crashed during an aerial application flight in Rickreall, Oregon.
  • On 5/19/06 a helicopter with a flight instructor and student pilot on board sustained serious damage during a training flight at the Skyport Airpark, a private facility in Cornelius, Oregon.

For additional information on this issue see Toxic Pesticides Released During Aerial Spraying.

Other Applebee Aviation Violations

In addition to aerial spraying violations and helicopter accidents, Applebee Aviation has been issued a number of citations related to his aviation business activities at the Apple Valley Airport in Buxton, Oregon - a property zoned for Exclusive Farm Use. Despite existing land use restrictions, Mike Applebee, the owner of the facility, attempted to run a commercial flight training business at this airstrip. His multiple infractions prompted impacted residents to invest more than $150,000 in legal expenses to protect themselves from these illegal activities. In the end, Applebee was forced to terminate all commercial flight training activity at the Apple Valley Airport.

Contact Local, State, and Federal Elected Representatives

Please contact your elected representatives to request that legislative safeguards be established to protect Oregonians from dangerous and “economic poison” exposure as well as the toxic political climate that allows illegal aerial spraying practices to occur. Those found to be in violation of their agricultural aircraft certification commitments should be held fully accountable.

Sources

[1] Davis, Rob. Whistleblower Videos Reveal Helicopter Spraying Workers with Weed Killers. Oregonian./OregonLive. (5/20/15). Available on-line at http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/05/whistleblower_videos_reveal_he.html#incart_special-report

[2] Applebee Aviation Inc. (AAI) website. About Us - Our Commitment. Available on-line at http://www.applebeeaviation.com/about/. Last accessed on 5/28/15.

[3] Davis, Rob. How Average Oregonians Challenged the Timber Industry - And Lost. Oregonian/OregonLive. (4/27/15). Available on-line at http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/04/how_average_oregonians_challen.html.

[4] Title 14: Aeronautics and Space. Part 137 - Agricultural Aircraft Operations. Subpart C - Operating 137.37 Manner of Dispensing. Subpart C - Operating Rules. U.S. Government Publishing Office. (Current as of 5/26/15). Available on-line at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=78672cbdfb33bcf538a462c581407602&mc=true&node=se14.3.137_137&rgn=div8.

[5] Certification Process for Agricultural Aircraft Operations. FAA Advisory Circular/AC 137. Available on-line at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC137-1A.pdf (Chapter 2-2, n 2-3).

[6] Certification Process for Agricultural Aircraft Operations. FAA Advisory Circular/AC 137. Available on-line at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC137-1A.pdf (Chapter 1-8, pg. 17).

[7] Aviation Accident and Database Synopses. National Transportation Safety Board. Available on-line at http://ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/index.aspx.

OAW Endorses Testimony in Support of Removing Lead from Aviation Fuel

May 15, 2015

Oregon Aviation Watch endorses the testimony submitted in support of Senate Joint Memorial 1 (SJM 1). The slide presentation was submitted to the Oregon Senate Committee on Transportation and Economic Development on 4/15/15.

See Testimony in Support of SJM 1 to view the slide presentation.

As noted in the testimony, Oregon Aviation Watch appreciates the acknowledgment in SJM 1 that:

  • The operation of general aviation aircraft is the greatest source of lead emissions in Oregon
  • Children are especially susceptible to the toxic effects of lead, and that exposure to lead can lead to irreversible brain damage and reduce a persons cognitive function
  • Exposure to low levels of lead early in life has been linked to effects on a persons intelligence quotient, learning, memory and behavior
  • There is no safe level of exposure to lead.

In light of these serious health impacts, we appreciate SJM 1's support for prioritizing the development and certification of unleaded aviation fuel in advance of 2018.

The full text of SJM 1 is available at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SJM1.

Oregon Environmental Council Submits Testimony in Support of Unleaded Aviation Fuel

April 18, 2015

Attached is testimony submitted by the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) expressing support for Senate Joint Memorial 1. A hearing on this memorial took place on Wednesday, April 15 at 1:00 pm in the Senate Business & Transportation Committee https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Committees/SBT/2015-04-15-13-00/Agenda.

Below is an excerpt from the OEC testimony. See OEC Testimony for the full submission.

“Oregon Environmental Council supports SJM 1, which signals the Oregon Legislature's support for the Federal Aviation Administrations initiative to certify safe unleaded aviation fuel for piston engine aircraft and encourages the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prioritize the development and certification of unleaded aviation fuel in advance of 2018.

Aviation gasoline used to power piston engine aircraft is the single largest source of lead emission in the U.S. and poses a significant threat to public health and the environment. Despite the phase-out of lead in automobile fuel almost 20 years ago, nearly 500 tons of airborne lead is still emitted annually from aviation gasoline. As the only remaining lead-containing transportation fuel, aviation gasoline directly contributes to lead exposures, which are particularly detrimental to children. The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that no blood level of lead is safe in children; even low levels of this known neurotoxin have been shown to permanently affect children's IQ and ability to pay attention, which also impacts their academic achievement.”

Oregon Aviation Watch extends our gratitude to OEC for submitting this testimony and to the following sponsors of SJM 1:

Senators:
Michael Dembrow, Diane Rosenbaum, and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Representatives:
Mitch Greenlick, Phil Barnhart, Peter Buckley, Lew Fredrick, Alissa Keny-Guyer, Jeff Reardon, Barbara Smith Warner, and Jessica Vega Pederson.

OAW urges members of the public to submit testimony in support of this effort to their elected representatives and to the Senate Business and Transportation Committee. The text of SJM 1 can be accessed at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SJM1/Introduced.

Members of the Senate Business and Transportation Committee are:

Senator Lee Beyer:
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1706, Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-419, Salem, Oregon 97301, Email: Sen.LeeBeyer@state.or.us.
Senator Rod Monroe:
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1724 District Phone: 503-760-4310, Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-409, Salem, Oregon 97301 District Address: 7802 SE 111th Avenue, Portland, OR 97266, Email: Sen.RodMonroe@state.or.us.
Senator Chuck Riley:
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715, Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-303, Salem, Oregon 97301, Email: sen.chuckriley@state.or.us.
Senator Chuck Thomsen:
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1726, Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-316, Salem, Oregon 97301, Email: Sen.ChuckThomsen@state.or.us.
Senator Fred Girod:
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709, Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-401, Salem, Oregon 97301, Email: Sen.FredGirod@state.or.us.

Hillsboro Airport - New Runway - TV Clip from KOIN

By Miki Barnes, LCSW
April 7, 2015

Below is a link to a 4/6/15 article and TV clip by KOIN TV Channel 6 reporter, Lisa Balick, on the third runway expansion at the Hillsboro Airport (HIO). Per the report, the new runway is expected to open in a few weeks. The Port of Portland and the Federal Aviation Administration chose to construct this runway despite neighborhood opposition including a challenge in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Watch video: New Airport Runway Causes Rift in Hillsboro

Oregon Aviation Watch Appealing Third Runway

In the 84 years during which HIO has grown from a grassy airstrip into the largest general aviation airport in the state of Oregon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port of Portland have never taken a hard look or engaged in a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the environmental impacts of this facility by completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). As a result the full impact of HIO, which accommodates the largest flight training school in the Pacific Northwest, has not been evaluated.

HIO is a major Washington County facility source of lead, PM 2.5, ethyl benzene and a number of other air toxins. Many are known or suspected carcinogens. Some are linked with a higher incidence of asthma, respiratory disorders, cardiac disease and a host of other debilitating and potentially life threatening health conditions.

In addition, the frequent noise intrusions from HIO aviation activity pose significant health risks and play a significant role in eroding livability and interfering with the ability of residents to enjoy their properties.

As part of our ongoing quest to insure public accountability, restore livability, and protect the environment, Oregon Aviation Watch is continuing with its appeal of the third runway. Even though the runway has now been built, the Court has yet to rule on the possibility of irreparable harm and significant environmental impacts due to the actual usage of the runway.

Please Donate

We are seeking your support in this all volunteer effort to address the serious environmental, health, and livability degradations resulting from HIO aviation activity. All contributions will go directly towards covering legal costs.

Click Here to Donate

Oregon Aviation Watch is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. (U.S. tax-exempt number is 27-3131841.)

We are sincerely grateful to all community members who have supported Oregon Aviation Watch and other airport appeals in the past. Your willingness to stand behind this effort is sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your support!

Pediatrician Urges EPA to Lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Lead

By Miki Barnes, LCSW
March 25, 2015

Below is a link to a 3/22/15 letter authored and sent by Jim Lubischer, MD, to EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy in which he provides a compelling and well-articulated rationale for lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for lead.

Dr. Lubischer's letter includes the following salient points:

  • The current NAAQS of 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter does not provide adequate protection for all children, especially those living near airports and other industrial facilities that routinely emit lead.
  • The median estimated air-related IQ loss based on the current standard is between 1.5 and 3.4 IQ points. In 2005 the CDC recommended that "Ultimately, all nonessential uses of lead should be eliminated..."
  • "...any amount of lead in a fetus or child's body is likely deleterious..."
  • Exposing children to lead is an environmental justice issue.

Launch of the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM)

By Miki Barnes, LCSW
March 22, 2015

I am forwarding this Press Release on behalf of Rose Bridger, John Stewart and Anita Pleumarom in recognition of the invaluable and inspiring work they are doing to protect rapidly disappearing farmland around the globe from the ravages of greed driven, environmentally irresponsible airport development. As noted by Rose Bridger, author of Plane Truth and founding member of the Global Anti-Aerotropolist Movement (GAAM), "Most aerotropolis projects are antidemocratic, the host community largely excluded from the governance of projects that are of enormous strategic significance. The airport, or a consortium, is granted a high degree of autonomy over the entire site. In many cases foreign investors are major shareholders, placing the project even further from control of the local community."


Dear colleagues and friends,

I'm pleased to inform you about the launch of the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM). Please find our Press Release below and links to two briefing papers:

Please sign up as supporters of GAAM! For more information please contact me at rosebridger@gmail.com or Anita Pleumarom, director of the Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team taaf.gaam@outlook.com or John Stewart, Chair of AirportWatch, johnstewart2@btconnect.com.

For updates, please regularly visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GAAMovement. A GAAM website will also be established soon.

Yours truly,
Rose Bridger

Press Release

20/03/2015

Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement Launched

Campaigners from across the globe have come together to fight so-called "airport city" or "aerotropolis" schemes, which have been spreading rapidly worldwide in recent years(1). Environmental and climate justice campaigners, aviation and tourism critics, human rights activists, and other concerned citizens and groups have formed the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM) to raise public awareness and take action on socially and ecologically harmful mega-airport development projects.

An aerotropolis is an airport-centric development, whereby a new or existing airport is surrounded by urbanisation including luxury hotels; shopping and entertainment facilities; convention, trade and exhibition complexes; golf courses and sport stadiums; and industrial parks. Governments advocate aerotropolis projects as a way of stimulating the economy but critics argue they create environmental, social and economic problems (2).

Anita Pleumarom, one of the founders of GAAM, said, "These massive airport development packages can cause havoc particularly in developing countries with weak democratic structures and law enforcement. They often involve forceful evictions and dispossession of the people's access to land, water and other resources. Therefore, it is not surprising that resistance against such projects has been growing worldwide."

GAAM aims to support local struggles and strengthen the international campaign community against harmful aerotropolis projects. Organizations and individuals who share GAAM's concerns are invited to sign up as supporters.

Notes:

(1) GAAM founders:
AirportWatch, U.K., http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/
AirportWatch Europe, http://www.airportwatcheurope.com/
Rose Bridger, author of the book Plane Truth, http://www.planetruth.net/
Pastoralists Indigenous NGO's FORUM, Tanzania, http://www.pingosforum.or.tz/
Third World Network, http://www.twn.my/
Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team, Thailand, http://www.twn.my/tour.htm
Tourism Advocacy & Action Forum (TAAF)

(2) Briefings:
"What is an Aerotropolis, and why must these developments be stopped" by Rose Bridger
"Join the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM)!" by Anita Pleumarom

For more information and/or for sign up as supporters, contact:

Rose Bridger, rosebridger@gmail.com,
Anita Pleumarom, taaf.gaam@outlook.com,
John Stewart, Chair of AirportWatch, johnstewart2@btconnect.com,
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GAAMovement

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