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Independence Town Council should have done more research into the alleged effects of pesticide spraying before considering an ordinance creating a “no-fly zone” over the town, which indirectly prohibits such spraying. The code would ban aircraft from flying under 1,000 feet above the town.
Legally, it appears that the town has the right to do it, but is that decision based on fact or fear?
Council began hearing complaints from citizens about alleged health problems associated with chemicals used in the Christmas tree industry last year, and some of those people cited false or misleading reports in their arguments. The town heard from a better-informed source, Grayson’s Extension agent, that the dangers of spraying are unproven.
The ordinance has so many exceptions that it allows just about any kind of aircraft to fly over — except those doing aerial spraying.
The proposal has the unusual distinction of both going too far and doing nothing. It goes to extremes to fix a perceived problem — it’s like preventing diesel or chemical spills in the town by banning tanker trucks from driving through.
And, what prevents aircraft from flying 1,001 feet above Independence to spray chemicals? Wouldn’t that be more of a problem, with less accuracy than at a low altitude, with a wider dispersal?
Who enforces that altitude? Will the FAA monitor it, or will there be a 1,000-foot pole in the center of town to measure by?
Even if pesticide spraying were proven to be harmful, this ordinance wouldn’t really help. Farmers could just apply chemicals at ground level.
The town is wasting time considering this ordinance when the answers about chemical spraying are still up in the air.