by Stephen C. Webster
Did you know that American authorities want to spray a toxic herbicide over 1.1 million acres of land on the US-Mexico border? Leave it to some pissed off Texans to throw a cog in that machine. This, from the latest edition of Texas’ most muckrakin’ weekly, the Lone Star Iconoclast:
The residents here dodged a bullet when the U.S. Border Patrol delayed the spraying of a toxic herbicide along the Rio Grande.
The herbicide, the U.S. agency said, is meant to eradicate a wild plant that supposedly protects illegal entities from detection on the riverbanks.
However, U.S. citizens living near the 1.1 mile spray area took a legal stand to halt the $2.1 million pilot program before it began last week because they haven’t been educated on the effects of the poison, they said.
"When our government comes and says it’s safe, we have to think back to the many times they said something was safe and it turn out not to be safe," said the citizens’ petition obtained by Pro8News.
The justification for their plan was given to CNN in late March:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it wants to eradicate the invasive Carrizo cane infesting many portions of the Rio Grande’s banks between Texas and Mexico. The lanky cane provides cover for immigrants crossing the border illegally and poses a danger to Border Patrol agents trying to stop them, said Chuck Prichard, spokesman for CBP’s Laredo sector.
"Someone can be in the cane and be 3 feet away from them, and you cannot see them," Prichard said during a Wednesday phone interview. "[A Border Patrol agent] could literally be surrounded and have no idea."
In addition to aerial spraying of the herbicide Imazapyr, the Border Patrol will employ hand-cutting and mechanical methods that involve applying the killer chemical at ground-level, Sarinana told Frontera NorteSur in an a phone interview.
Working from US EPA labeling, the Pesticide Info Database lists Imazapyr as having an "acute toxicity," but it is not known whether that toxicity can become a water-borne contaminant.
A side (but somewhat related) note: I used to write for the Lone Star Iconoclast, and now I read each new edition cover-to-cover. It is thoroughly Iconoclastic, believe-you-me. You won’t always agree with their content, but it sure is interesting.