Take that, nature

Only our all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors could come up with the bright idea of spraying toxic chemical pesticides in a nature preserve, but their eagerness to appease the Lyme Loonies led by local wacko right-wing religious zealot and science denier Michael Farris apparently knows no bounds.

Last year, not even bothering to talk to anyone who actually knows anything about the science of Lyme disease, ticks, or how to apply pesticides safely, the Board rushed out a $10,000 contract to have nine county parks sprayed with a dangerous pesticide, hosing down a total of 196 acres including open grassy areas and ballfields — completely oblivious to the unanimous expert guidelines which state that even if you think spraying pesticides is an effective strategy to reduce human exposure to the tick-borne disease  (the evidence actually suggests it is a total waste), only a small band a few yards wide along the edges of woods ought to be sprayed (i.e., the places where ticks actually live) —  and that it is utterly pointless, as well as dangerous to humans and deadly to honeybees, to spray open areas. Had they followed the proper procedure, they would have sprayed at most 6 acres instead of 196 acres.

This year, the hit list of targeted parks includes Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve: under the contract issued last Friday, the county will be fearlessly attempting to create a nature-free cordon sanitaire by spraying along the the nature trails in this nature preserve. (The other parks to be sprayed are West Brambleton Regional Park, Claude Moore Park, Conklin Park, Franklin Park, and Philip A. Bolen Park.)

Having a 9–0 majority means never having to say you’re sorry, and the Board has still not admitted that it made a complete cock-up of the business last year. (Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) as usual tried to lie his way out of their blundering, asserting last year that there was a “misunderstanding that we are spraying acres and acres and . . . not just spraying perimeters to keep ticks out of fields.” Simple rule: whenever one of our supervisors complains that the public suffers from a “misunderstanding,” what the public is really suffering from is an “understanding” of something the supervisors wish had not gotten out.)

So without ever acknowledging they made a mistake last time, they have at least scaled back the number of acres to be sprayed this time. But spraying a nature preserve? This must be a new milestone in official idiocy.

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