SALEM - Environmentalists complained Thursday that farmers and other pesticide users are trying to doom a pesticide reporting law by loading it down with extra costs and provisions.
A bill amending the state's Pesticide Use Reporting System would allow farmers to report their chemicals by zip code, rather than by precise address.
It would also allow them to file using paper forms, a change that would cost the state an extra $695,000 every two years. As it stands, all reports have to be filed online.
The law was originally passed by the 1999 Legislature. But to date, lawmakers have yet to fully fund it, largely because of the objections by farmers and the pesticide industry.
"It makes no sense to change the system before it even works," Matt Blevins, a lobbyist with the Oregon Environmental Council, told a house committee Thursday.
Proponents of HB2396 argued that the current law seeks information that is too detailed. They also say the program is unfair because many who use pesticides are not Internet savvy.
"Even in the high tech age, not all have a computer with Internet access or even know how to use a computer at all," said Katie Fast from the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.
Supporters say reporting by zip code rather than exact address would help protect against eco-terrorist attacks; radicals would not be able to glean addresses of pesticide users from state records.
Though the mandatory reports began in 2001, a lack of funding and computer crashes have kept the state agricultural department from organizing and distributing the information.