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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