After Missoula City Councilman Bob Jaffe witnessed a Montana Rail Link (MRL) contractor spraying railroad tracks with herbicide last spring, he became alarmed. According to Jaffe, “large clouds of poison” rose up from a large truck spraying herbicide along the Bitterroot Spur track that day. Moments later, pedestrians meandered by oblivious.
“People walking their dogs two minutes after the truck went by would not know that the ground was soaked in poison,” Jaffe writes in a memo referring the issue to Missoula’s Public Safety and Health Committee.
After Jaffe broached the issue in his listserv—an online news bulletin aiming to inform locals of what’s going on with city government—folks came forward offering a range of alternatives to herbicide, including planting hemp and sending “well-wrangled” goats to clear the track.
It’s bound to be an interesting discussion when Missoula’s Public Safety and Health Committee takes up MRL’s herbicide program during its Dec. 2 meeting.