August 8, 2012
Regarding that letter from MRC in last week’s paper, I’d first like to thank Mr. Jani for the attempt. Anything is better than nothing. However, I thought his note was most peculiar in what it did not address, which is the public’s obvious distaste for being poisoned. Instead, Mr. Jani focused obsessively on the “visual impact,” which almost made it sound more like an internal memo: “Guys, we screwed up, it’s too visible, the natives are restless, we’ve got to go back to hiding this better.” The effect of Mr. Jani’s message, to those of us being poisoned, was not reassuring.
His careful subject avoidance reminded me of the tobacco industry, who for decades after everyone else had figured it out, kept pretending that there was no connection between smoking and cancer. A big difference in these two situations is that one could choose not to be a smoker; whereas, here, we are unwilling participants in MRC’s poisoning of the environment.
If you haven’t already done so, take a drive out Comptche-Ukiah Road, three to six miles east of Comptche. You’ll get the “visual impact” Mr. Jani was talking about. The ugly brown is one thing, but the real story is those thousands of dead trees, perched steeply above the headwaters of the Albion River, have all been killed with a highly toxic herbicide. Their fallen leaves are now sliding down canyon walls toward the river, rainy season is coming, and we know the herbicide used to kill those trees, imazapyr, is both mobile and persistent. I mourn for the people throughout the Albion River watershed. The toxic load heading your way is criminal.
I mourn for all of us in western Mendocino County. What you can see along the Comptche-Ukiah Road this year, MRC has been doing in more hidden locations all along. From our property, we see large fields of MRC Brown along tributaries of the Navarro River. MRC averages two tons of imazapyr on over 5,000 acres every year. That’s a huge toxic load on us all. Doesn’t it seem like too many people are getting cancer these days? MRC is helping make that happen.
How can we make them stop? What these corporate types care about is money, so I suggest boycotting Home Depot (which distributes MRC lumber) and the five clothing businesses of the principal owners: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta. Tell these businesses what you’re doing and why. Spread the word. Together we can create something that matters to these people: financial impact.
Beyond the Deep End (Navarro)