This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In "Invasive herbicides" (Forum, June 21), Jonathan Jensen argued that Utah's herbicide spraying "war" on invasive plants uses chemicals that are hazardous to environmental health. I wonder how many bees Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham and his plant industry director, Robert Hougaard, will be killing with their colossal $1.3 million chemical war.
This past week, 50,000 bumblebees died in Oregon because of a pesticide application. Neither Blackham nor Hougaard made mention of bees during their publicized toxic "weed war" demonstration on the Heber Creeper.
Seems that agriculture people have no regard for any other control methods except chemicals. Hougaard sits on the board of the Utah Weed Control Association. His pesticide manager, Clark Burgess, sits on the board of the Utah Pest Control and Lawncare Association. And the Utah Mosquito Abatement Association lists chemical companies as contributing members of their association.
Utah has only 30 registered organic farms, which avoid chemical pesticides. Compare that to the 4,416 licensed pesticide applicators in Utah. Seem a tad lopsided?