Oregon fines for pesticide use violations jump

As lawmakers consider tighter rules

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - As the Oregon Legislature considers four bills that would tighten regulations around pesticides, the state's Agriculture Department says the dollar amount of fines it issued for improper pesticide use quadrupled last year - thanks largely to one big penalty.

The Statesman Journal reports ( ) that the department levied 37 fines totaling nearly $86,000, up from 23 fines totaling less than $19,000 in 2015.

In one significant case last year, a Banks aerial spraying company, Applebee Aviation, and its owner, Michael L. Applebee, were fined nearly $54,000. Investigators said they failed to take any health or safety precautions for workers, and continued spraying after its license was suspended.

Other cases that generated fines last year included a Gresham nursery that allowed pesticide spray to drift onto a nearby home, sickening its occupants.

Among the measures the Legislature is considering is one that would make it easier for people sickened by pesticides to sue and another that would require the state to maintain an electronic reporting and notification system for pesticide applications, with free public access.

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