Nicky Frechette did not stay long during her recent visit to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground in Windham County, Vermont. The 41-year New York resident left shortly after she said she was sprayed with a liquid herbicide one morning at a South Londonderry camping area, the Manchester Journal reported.
Frechette and her partner arrived at the Winhall Brook Camping Area late one night in July. She woke up to cook breakfast around 8 a.m. the following morning. She started a fire, placed frozen bacon into a pan to defrost, and sat on a nearby picnic table as her partner remained asleep in the car.
She then saw a truck arrive at the campsite. Several men began operating what she said sounded and looked like leaf blowers emitting a mist into the air about 20 feet to 30 feet from the picnic table. Frechette asked one of the men what they spraying.
“Oh, it’s just Roundup,” she said one man replied.
She then asked the crew to stop spraying the herbicide. She said the men discussed her concerns and responded that it was their job to control invasive species in the campground.
Frechette last week filed a formal complaint with the state. Now, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, which regulates the use of pesticides, says the herbicide applicator violated state regulations because there were unprotected visitors present at the campground during the time of the spraying.
The agency is still considering whether anyone was physically harmed and what enforcement action to take. Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross would have to sign off any enforcement action. The campground incident is one of about one dozen cases of potential herbicide exposure the agency is currently investigating, an official said.
It remains unclear whether the state can take enforcement action against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the campground and contracted the herbicide applicators.
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