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Sedona residents concerned about the city?s use of herbicides along Hwy. 89A get another chance to change Sedona City Council members? minds Tuesday, March 13.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona residents concerned about the city?s use of herbicides along Hwy. 89A get another chance to change Sedona City Council members? minds Tuesday, March 13.

On Feb. 27, council unanimously approved reconsideration of its Jan. 9 decision. Councilman Harvey Stearn was absent.

On Jan. 9, council approved reinstatement of a managed herbicide-use plan after a 120-day trial period in which they weren?t used.

The managed plan calls for city staff to spray herbicides no more than four times a year and not during winter months — November through February.

Council approved the plan 5-2 with Vice Mayor Jerry Frey and Councilman Rob Adams voting against reinstatement of herbicide use.

Council agreed in January to reevaluate the situation in a year and directed staff to research further scaling back use of herbicides.

January 2008 isn?t soon enough for some concerned residents.

At council?s Feb. 27 meeting, Matthew Turner, founder of Vibrant Sedona, presented a petition to council with over 1,100 signatures from citizens against the use of herbicides containing the chemical 2,4-D — or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid.

Vibrant Sedona is a nonprofit organization Turner founded dedicated to addressing health concerns associated with chemical use.

Eleven other people also stood up during public comment to tell council they don?t want 2,4-D sprayed along Hwy. 89A.

According to a report issued by the Sierra Club of Canada in January 2005, 2,4-D causes many health problems in mammals.

Cell mutations leading to cancer, reproductive problems including conception and fetus development and interference with serotonin and dopamine production are a few health risks cited by the Sierra Club.

Turner and over 1,100 other residents weren?t satisfied with the managed herbicide use plan and won?t stop until 2,4-D is no longer used, according to Turner.

Vibrant Sedona, with the help of approximately 50 volunteers, has received support from businesses along the sprayed corridor who are helping raise awareness and collect signatures.

?We?re not going to just stop getting signatures,? Turner said.

Turner said he plans to keep pushing until the city agrees to stop using 2,4-D.

Organic methods, encouraging business owners to weed property around their stores or a weed festival — day in which people volunteer to help pull weeds — are a few of Turner?s suggested alternatives.

Turner and other concerned residents will have a chance Tuesday, March 13, to present information to council and voice their concerns. At that time, council can either stick with its previous decision or approve a new plan.

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