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(update) Herbicide Use-Lake George
(update) Herbicide Use-Lake George
(update) Herbicide Use-Lake George

UPDATE: June 15, 2022
The Lake George Park Commission will have to wait to carry out its planned use of a chemical herbicide on Lake George after a Warren County judge on Monday halted the plan.

Judge Robert Muller of state Supreme Court in Warren County granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state agency from carrying out its plan to use ProcellaCOR EC against invasive Eurasian watermilfoil until the court can resolve a lawsuit filed last month by the Lake George Association and others.

The injunction will stop the state agency from using the herbicide this year under an Adirondack Park Agency permit that required the plan be carried out by the end of June. The APA approved the plan at its April meeting on a split vote.

The lake association, Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, the Town of Hague and a lakeshore property owner sued to stop use of the herbicide, alleging procedural errors by state officials and calling for more analysis of how the herbicide would impact Lake George.

Muller ruled that state officials did not present an argument to support an urgent need to apply the herbicide this summer and concluded the case should move forward while the plan is shelved.

“While the court is not entirely convinced that the application of ProcellaCOR will result in injury to Lake George, petitioners have succeeded in raising questions in this regard – and it is indisputable that if ProcellaCOR does result in injury, that injury will be irreparable,” Muller wrote.

April 13, 2022 - Article: Should an herbicide be used on Lake George? The APA may vote on the issue

Lake George has an invasive species problem. Eurasian watermilfoil has been spreading in the lake for decades. Local groups have spent tens of thousands of dollars a year trying to manage the problem. Last year alone, more than 136,000 pounds of milfoil was removed from the lake.

Now, the Lake George Park Commission wants to change tactics and use an herbicide on two big patches of milfoil. The Adirondack Park Agency will consider permitting the use of ProcellaCOR at its meeting on Thursday. The LGPC is proposing using the herbicide on a 4-acre patch in Blairs Bay and a 3.6-acre patch Sheep Meadow Bay in Lake George.

Tony Hall, the editor of the Lake George Mirror, has been reporting on the invasive species issue for years.

TONY HALL: Eurasian milfoil is now the most widely distributed aquatic plant in Lake George, which is truly amazing when you realize that it was only discovered here in 1985. And the Lake George Park Commission has been working since 1987 to clear these dense beds, [they] go back each year and essentially clear the site of milfoil. So, while there may be a number of sites on the lake, [milfoil] has a strong impact only on a few particular sections, two of which are these dense beds that the Lake George Park Commission would like to treat with the herbicide ProcellaCOR.

EMILY RUSSELL: How do locals feel about this proposal to use herbicides on Lake George?

HALL: The Lake George Association (LGA), which is the largest and wealthiest lake protection organization in the country, is adamantly opposed to this. The Lake George Park Commission argued that the herbicide has been approved for use by 49 states and by the EPA, and that after rigorous scientific scrutiny, nothing was found to indicate that it is harmful. LGA says that Lake George deserves something better than that proof there, that it will definitely not be harmful, and it says that the Park Commission has not met that burden of proof. I've also spoken with local government officials who are skeptical, and with business owners that are skeptical.

RUSSELL: How big of a concern is it among locals who use Lake George as a water source that herbicides would impact their source of drinking,?

HALL: The letters that have been sent to the Adirondack Park Agency about this application by people who are living on the lake are uniformly opposed to it, or at least according to the 200 or so letters that I've scanned. Drinking water is definitely a concern. There are about 2,000 people who draw their water directly from the lake. Again, the Lake George Park Commission argues that the concentration of the herbicide would have to be 400 times higher than what's prescribed for it to have any impact on drinking water whatsoever. But nevertheless, there's a perception that it could affect drinking water and the two spots where the Park Commission proposes to use the herbicide are essentially second-home communities. People probably won't be there at the time the herbicide is applied, but those people have been, from what I gather, are adamantly opposed to it.

RUSSELL: Do you have any sense as to which way the APA will go, in terms of whether or not to permit the use of herbicides on on those two sections of Lake George?

HALL: I understand that the [APA] staff supports the application, but the board members may have their own opinions. And there may be other political opinions or scientific opinions that the agency board members will take into account, which may lead them to, if not oppose or deny the Lake George Park Commission application, at least to send it to an adjudicatory hearing, where all the scientific opinions would be held and debated. And I think that's what the Lake George Association, that's what the Adirondack Council, and Protect the Adirondacks are hoping will happen.

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(update) Herbicide Use-Lake George
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