Letters to the Editor - April 14, 2012
This letter was sent to the Electric Utility Task Group and copied to The Block Island Times:
Since the bridge next to Town Hall is going to be replaced, maybe some hydroelectric could be put in when it is rebuilt. It would seem a shame not to use energy that people took advantage of hundreds of years ago.
To: the Editor—
I am writing to thank all the wonderful helpers who volunteered time and effort to make my Easter visit possible. As you can imagine, one bunny alone could not have accomplished such a monumental task. Teams of assistant bunnies stuffed bags, constructed routes and delivered the goodies. Moreover, many kind citizens responded to my plea for financial help with my project.
Thank you for your continued support of the “Easter Bunny” and I hope to return next year. If you wish to contribute to the bunny donations can be mailed to:
The Easter Bunny
Block Island RI 02807
The Easter Bunny
Hopalong Bunny Trail
To: the Editor—
One has to respect the passion that some folks express, especially when the topic of pesticides and fertilizers comes front and center. However, if these passions were authenticated with some basic research-based facts their mission might have more credence. Fertilizers and pesticides are not just a batch of mixtures, put in a container and shipped around the country for sale and applied indiscriminately on crops whether they be turfgrass, trees, fruits or vegetables.
The manufacture, formulation, sale and distribution of pesticides and fertilizers is heavily regulated by the following agencies: the Environmental Protection Administration, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and individual state departments of environmental management. Each product has a very detailed label that must be approved by these agencies. If there is any question raised by any one of the above agencies, the registrant must submit research data to prove its point. The following subjects are included on the label: ingredients, the site or crop on which it is to be used, the amount, frequency and timing of its use, any potential health and environmental effects or concerns about the product and storage and disposal practices. The label is law! If a recommendation is made to add one ounce of material to one gallon of water, that is the rate that should be administered — not two to three times the strength of the recommendation! If the recommendation relates to area, the application should be calibrated to ensure that the correct amount is applied to the recommended area — not more, not less.
Ms. Hatfield stated in her letter to the editor (4/12/12), “I could list hundreds of studies and websites — for reference against chemicals, as could anyone debating the chemical fertilizer side of the argument.” Had she listed a couple of these studies related to the maintenance of Heinz Field this could have been an illuminating exercise. For the past several years, generations of youth have played on fertilized home lawns, playgrounds, recreation fields and golf courses. What problems have evolved from this history of activity?
Ms. Hatfield cited concerns for nitrates in drinking water. I have provided the following quotation a couple of times in the past: Dr. Jeff Gillman in his book, “The Truth about Organic Gardening, benefits, drawbacks and the bottom line” — “A myth exists that the nutrients in organic fertilizers won’t leach or run off and contaminate nearby bodies of water. This is completely false. The nutrients in any organic fertilizer can leave a site via water movement, such as leaching through the ground or washing away with rain, and can contaminate streams, lakes and even groundwater.” With that said, two years ago Dr. Baute visited with the University of Rhode Island staff involved with their turfgrass teaching and research program. The research program is one of the oldest in the country dating back over 75 years. The area that is used for this endeavor is considerably larger than that of Heinz Field. Here research has involved various fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other maintenance factors such as mowing and irrigation. Because of the intensity of this research over the years the University established three wells to monitor the water aquifer since the University depends upon this source of water. The results of the continuous monitoring of this water provided a clean bill of health.
A cooperative venture involving scientists from the universities of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Plymouth State, published by the University of Connecticut, states: “From a water quality perspective, the synthetic controlled-release products are just as effective in lessening the threat to water quality as the naturally organic-derived products.”
Town employees are not required to have a Certified Pesticide Applicators license to apply any of the fertilizers or pesticides that might be approved for use on Heinz Field, as suggested by Ms. Hatfield. Only those personnel who perform professional services as a business such as landscape maintenance companies and those professionals who need to use Restricted Pesticides (those pesticides that can only be purchased with a license), are required to have a license.
We have heard that Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have mandates requiring organic maintenance of athletic fields and parks. I have yet to hear the factors that led to this decision. If the factors are similar to the Block Island concerns then I suspect that the decisions were one huge political play. Connecticut, by the way, is in the process of reviewing this policy.
Finally, I have yet to see any news in the newspapers, national television or talk radio programs extolling the hazardous results of synthetic fertilizers and our youth. I can’t imagine the news media would refrain from reporting any injury to anyone from this cause. I do see news proliferating the media involving: car accident injuries and death, alcohol effects on society, shootings, firearm problems, drug problems, sugar laden sodas, fast food overeating, even peanut allergies and, last but not the least, the deer tick.
Frederick H. Nelson