Arkansas activists past and present are featured in movie about Carroll Electric's herbicide spraying. The documentary, a production of Ozarkadia Films and Duck a Duck Productions, is titled "The Natural State of America." It will be shown on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at the Unitarian Church at 17 Elk Street. (at 4pm)
Others in the film include Dr. Pat Costner, a former Greenpeace scientist, and Barbara Harmony, director of the National Water Center.
As the film documents, residents of the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas, the “Natural State,” are presently engaged in a battle with their rural electric cooperative over the spraying of herbicides on powerline right-of-ways. Herbicides have been sprayed against landowners’ wishes, in many cases even after they explicitly requested or posted their land so it would not be sprayed.
The issue of herbicide applications and local resistance is not a new one, however; in 1975 the Newton County Wildlife Association (NCWA) formed to protest and legally challenge the aerial spraying of herbicides (2,4,D & 2,4,5,T) on the Ozark National Forests. NCWA succeeded in halting such aerial spraying and their legal precedent prevented the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from using these methods in National Forests throughout the United States of America.
In the 1980s, the U.S.F.S. reintegrated herbicides into their management plans. Yet, when they conducted surveys asking residents about those plans for their National Forests, a vast majority responded that they did not want their forests sprayed with chemicals. Despite local opposition, various governmental and corporate entities continue to spray herbicides on private and public lands. This documentary employs applied anthropology, archival research, and diverse media to present the issue through the experiences and struggles of Ozarkers to protect their lands, waters, and families from biocides.
There will be a reception following the film. Admission is a suggested $1 donation.
Louise and I represented FOM at the fracalliance meeting in LR on 1-29-11, which was well attended by 21 representatives of many different groups. There was discussion about the current status, projected growth, and environmental impacts of the gas industry in Arkansas. The afternoon session worked on identifying common goals and strategies for action.
Highlights of this meeting will be shared at our next Friends of the Mulberry Watershed gathering which is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 24th, 6:30 pm, at my house.
Be prepared to brainstorm on ways we can further current legislative, public awareness, and education efforts!