by Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-New York), July 24, 2001
Chairman, the use of eradication aerial spraying in Colombia, while controversial,
when put into overall perspective is not as alarming as many would have
us believe. While I admire the objective of the gentleman who presented
the amendment, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. CONYERS), all of the coca
eradication spraying sponsored by U.S. policy in Colombia combined uses
less than 10 percent of the Roundup herbicide used overall each year in
that same nation for their legitimate farming and other usual eradication
uses. That same herbicide, Roundup, long licensed since 1993 by our own
EPA for use here in our own Nation, is used safely as well in many other
areas of legitimate agricultural production in Colombia. In fact, the drug
producers themselves often use this same herbicide to keep weeds down around
the illicit coca bush to be eradicated by our spray planes.
The real environmental
damage is done by the drug producers who slash and burn the Amazon jungle
to plant coca and opium, and then pour tons of chemicals into the rivers
from their illicit laboratories.
Mr. Chairman, there
is no other alternative but to help Colombia. We must work with them to
improve their military's human rights records, which concerns all of us.
And as to the manual eradication idea in Colombia, the narcoterrorists
will not let that happen. Just last year, for example, when record levels
of both opium and coca were aerially eradicated by the anti-drug police,
there was not one allegation of human rights abuse against the anti-drug
unit, as I pointed out earlier today. It is a record we and they can be
justly very proud of, especially in the middle of a raging civil war,
a war that is often financed by the illicit drug monies.
Mr. Chairman, I urge
the defeat of this amendment. It is a misguided proposal to end aerial
eradication of coca growth.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr.
Chairman, has the gentleman from New York heard of Agent Orange in Vietnam
and the aftereffects?
Mr. GILMAN. Yes,
I am familiar with that, but Agent Orange is not the kind of spraying
that they are using here. They are using Roundup that the farmers themselves
use for their weeds. The farmers in Colombia use this Roundup themselves.
We use it.
As of October 3, 2001,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)