Controversial Herbicide Proposal is Back

January 31, 2023

Lake George Park Commission Applying for 2023 Permit
Despite Public Opposition and Feb. 17 Court Hearing

The Lake George Association and Lake George Waterkeeper today issued the following statement regarding the Lake George Park Commission’s renewed attempt to use a chemical herbicide in Lake George:

Despite the opposition of more than 4,500 concerned citizens last summer, and a pending Feb. 17 hearing in New York State Supreme Court in Warren County, the Lake George Park Commission is once again submitting an application to the Adirondack Park Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to use the herbicide ProcellaCOR in the Lake for the treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil.

The Park Commission announced its intentions last week in a notice to property owners near the proposed herbicide treatment areas in “Blairs Bay, Glenburnie, and Sheep Meadow Bay, Huletts Landing.”

Lake George Waterkeeper, a program of the LGA, has submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the Park Commission, APA and NYSDEC asking for a copy of the new application to determine whether it provides the scientific evidence lacking in last year’s application that the herbicide will not have any adverse impacts to the Lake or human health given the Lake’s unique water quality and water circulation patterns.

The LGA, Waterkeeper, and thousands of concerned citizens expressed great concern last year that the Park Commission was proposing the first-ever use of a chemical herbicide in the Lake without a full understanding of the potential consequences to the Lake’s water quality and ecosystems and to the many people who use the Lake as a drinking water source.

We urged the Commission to conduct – and the APA to require - a Lake George-specific analysis of potential environmental and public health risks before putting the herbicide in the water.

When the APA went ahead and issued the use permits last summer, the LGA, Waterkeeper, and our co-petitioners, the Town of Hague and lakeside property owner Helena G. Rice, filed suit, alleging that the APA undertook a rushed process to approve the herbicide use despite the considerable technical and scientific concerns that were raised and acted in a way that marked a substantial departure from regulatory requirements. Of note, our lawsuit charges, the APA should have held an adjudicatory hearing to gather expert scientific testimony before making its decision about the safety of the herbicide, particularly given the successful milfoil hand-harvesting program that has been in place on Lake George for years and the overwhelming public opposition to the ProcellaCOR plan. Among the criteria the Agency is required to consider when determining whether to hold a hearing is the degree of public interest in the project and whether the information presented at a hearing would be of assistance to the agency in the review.

After reviewing written arguments from both sides, Supreme Court Justice Robert Muller issued a preliminary injunction preventing the use of ProcellaCOR under the 2022 permits pending oral arguments, which are now scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17.

The oral arguments by the LGA and New York State (representing the APA and the Park Commission) will begin at 10 a.m. in the Courthouse at the Warren County Municipal Center on Route 9 in Queensbury. The session is open to the public.