The Maine Woods

A Publication of the Forest Ecology Network

 Volume Five     Number Two                           Late Fall 2001

Unanimous Vote Passes Ban on Aerial Spraying in Coplin - It's Not Over...Decision May be Referred to Superior Court

by Janet LeClair

COPLIN PLANTATION - On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Coplin residents passed an ordinance, voting 26 to zero, against aerial spraying, stating: "Coplin Plantation prohibits the aerial spraying and/or mechanical application of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc. in Coplin Plantation." Exceptions to this ban were manual applications along utility lines and manual applications to one acre or less, per individual landowner, per year.

Basil Powers holds a dead sapling in a recently herbicided area on Plum Creek land north o Flagstaff Lake. Photo by Janet LeClair.

Visibly absent were Coplin's selectpersons and clerk who maintained the special meeting and ordinance were illegal as advised by the Maine Municipal Association and Attorney Flewelling in a Sept. 18 letter. International Paper (IP) representatives did not attend even though they had previously requested a location change from Coplin's old schoolhouse to a larger facility.

Sheriff Dennis Pike led a salute to the flag and John Dill was chosen to moderate the meeting. Harriet Powers was sworn in as temporary clerk and recorded the minutes.

During the discussion period Coplin resident, Barbara Moyer, asked, "Is this legal?" Whereupon Sheriff Pike replied, "I believe the matter will be referred to Superior Court as to whether or not it meets criteria and the final decision will be made by a judge." Sheriff Pike proclaimed that he was proud to live in the United States and that, "Town meetings are the purest form of democracy."

John (Cochese) Karchenas interjected, "We're taking a stand here, making a moral judgment saying we don't want to be sprayed on." Basil Powers said he believes the warrant will become a legal ordinance and expects the next discussion on the matter will be at the yearly town meeting in March.

Powers asked everyone to attend the March meeting and make their views known. A motion for Australian (secret) ballot passed and the 26 unanimous votes for the ban were counted by two non-residents.

According to the warrant the ordinance will take effect, "When affirmatively voted at town meeting, and shall remain in effect until terminated or amended by majority vote of a town meeting."

The State Board of Herbicides and Pesticides, which had previously been notified of Coplin's intent to vote on this issue, will now be advised that the meeting has been held and presented with a Notice of Vote.

This story was originally published 15 October 2001 in the Original Irregular.

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