W. Feliciana Policy Jury urged  to take stand against herbicides

Any savings realized from spraying rural roadsides, rather than mowing them, could be lost if tourism is hurt by unsightly brown
vegetation left by herbicide applications, members of a beautification group told the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury.

Members of Keep Feliciana Beautiful appeared at Monday’s Police Jury meeting to urge the jurors to take a stand against spraying herbicides.

Jurors postponed acting on a proposed resolution before them after hearing from a representative of Dixie Electric Membership Corp., who said the proposal extended to utility companies that spray power line rights of way.

Phil Zito, land manager for the electric cooperative, said DEMCO officials learned about the proposed resolution at noon Monday, while Entergy Corp. officials learned of it later.

He asked that representatives of the utilities have a voice in any resolution the jury should adopt.

Tracey Banowetz, who made Keep Feliciana Beautiful’s main presentation, said the organization did not intend to include utilities in the resolution and wanted only for the jury to agree not to spray its road rights of way.

Banowetz said mowing parish roadsides three times a year costs the jury $225,900, while mowing once and spraying three times costs $110,173, for a savings of $115,727.

The savings could be lost if the scenic roadsides that attract tourists to the parish become long stretches of dead vegetation, she said.

Former state Rep. Tom McVea, Tourism Commission Chairman Norman Ferachi and lawyer Charles Griffin joined Banowetz and Cammie Norwood in support of a ban on roadside spraying.

“Please don’t do anything to harm the parish’s economy,” Ferachi said.

Griffin said spraying herbicides results in a false savings because the spraying contractors inevitably will spray
outside the right of way, resulting in damage to private property.