THE SPRAY MAY be directed at mosquitoes, but state Rep. Mindy Greiling says people should have a chance to get out of the way. The Roseville DFLer is sponsoring a bill that would require the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District to notify neighborhoods in advance of treating them with pesticides.
The impetus for the bill, says Greiling, came when a constituent, who also happens to be the legislative director for the Sierra Club, complained that a Mosquito Control truck showed up unannounced and drove through her neighborhood emitting a "fine mist" that seemed to have an "oily smell." "People that are chemically sensitive have a right to know in advance that these trucks will be coming by," says Greiling.
But Jim Stark, the mosquito district's public affairs coordinator, says Greiling is sounding a false alarm. The agency already maintains a list of residents who want to be notified of spraying plans, he notes; besides, the Minnesota Department of Health "has conducted a risk assessment, and they say that the chemicals, and how we use them, don't pose a risk."
The bill had its first hearing in the House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Committee Tuesday. No vote had been taken by press time, but Greiling said she and the agency had reached an eleventh-hour compromise under which the agency would print its spraying schedule in local newspapers.
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