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Saturday, November 29, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Yakama Nation tempers pesticide regulation plan
By The Associated Press
TOPPENISH, Yakima County The Yakama Nation has softened a proposal to regulate all pesticide use on its reservation, after hearing concerns from farmers.
A draft pesticide ordinance that started circulating last year would have given the tribe almost total control of farming across the reservation south of Yakima. It was opposed by farmers concerned they would have no recourse before the tribal government if they disagreed with the ordinance.
According to a revised proposal announced this week, the Yakama Nation would apply the ordinance only to tribal lands while acting under federal authority. The program would virtually mirror state and federal standards, though some exceptions might be made for culturally sensitive areas, said program manager Marco Guske.
The rules also would cover acreage leased from the nation by non-Indian farmers.
Mark Barrett, president of the Yakima County Farm Bureau, said the new proposal appears acceptable, although he would prefer the state retained more of a role on the reservation.
The proposed ordinance still requires the approval of the 14-member Tribal Council, which conducts the daily business of the Yakama Nation. That approval could take several years, Guske said.
"We have a lot of interests and they are trying to make sure that their interests are seen. It's a tightrope," Guske said. "I am trying to build bridges rather than burn them in this process."
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