ProcellaCOR used in Lake George after Muller lifts restraining order

By Ben Westcott, Chronicle Staff Writer

After a multi-year battle between the Lake George Park Commission and the Lake George Association, the Commission finally got its wish Saturday morning, applying the aquatic herbicide ProcellaCOR to an eight-acre treatment area in northern Lake George to control invasive Eurasian watermilfoil.

The Park Commission said, “The permitted application area for Blairs Bay is 4-acres, and a total of 4.2 gallons was applied over that area for a concentration of 7.7 parts per billion. The permitted application area for Sheep Meadow Bay is 3.6-acres, and a total of 4.7 gallons was used over that area for a concentration of 7.7 parts per billion.”

Supreme Court Justice Robert Muller gave the legal green light Friday when he lifted a temporary restraining order preventing the herbicide from being applied.

The ruling left the Park Commission just two days to apply ProcellaCOR before its permit expired on June 30.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency had okayed the use of ProcellaCOR.

“I have to follow these agency determinations,” Justice Muller said. “I don’t have the discretion to ignore them.”

Personally, he said, “I don’t agree with them. But I don’t have any science to support anything like that. I have the obligation here to act procedurally.”

LGPC Executive Director Dave Wick said, “Of course we’re pleased at the outcome, but we continue to be disappointed that people are concerned about the application based on what has been continual inaccurate information that is going out. So we don’t consider this a win, because you’re looking at people that are concerned, wrongfully so, for their health. That should never have been the case.”

Mr. Wick said, “As we’re talking right now, Upper Chateaugay Lake is doing a 97-acre application with overwhelming public support. Highland Forge Lake yesterday did an 18-acre application with nothing but overwhelming support. Brant Lake did a 164-acre application, drinking water supply, overwhelming support, no concerns on public health and safety. And here we are in Lake George. So that’s our challenge.”

Lake George Association Board Chair Dr. John Kelly III was quoted in an LGA press release: “It is very unfortunate that ProcellaCOR was put in Lake George at all, particularly when The Jefferson Project’s computer models were available to predict the flow of pesticide without putting it in the water.

“But now that it has been applied, we must take the opportunity to scientifically measure the effects for better-informed lake management decisions.”

Over 100 people showed up to hear Justice Muller’s decision, with some filing into an overflow courtroom carrying a live stream of the event. The majority of them appeared to be against using the herbicide. When the ruling was made, the assembled crowd audibly groaned.

Before the hearing, one man who has been part of the LGA’s ‘Not 1 Drop’ movement held open the door and demanded as people filed in, “Are you for it or against it?”

A throng lingered outside the courthouse after the ruling, commiserating and taking questions from reporters.

Kaitlyn Pote, who lives across the lake from an application area and uses the lake for drinking water, said, “We’re completely devastated. We’re trying to figure out where to go from here.”

She said that even though her family’s been there for generations, with the ProcellaCOR use, “we’ll probably move.”

Jillian Maginnis, who lives on a bay where ProcellaCOR was applied, said, “We’re beyond disappointed. You see this turnout. It has to mean something. My main concern is we don’t have any long term data. It’s too new of a chemical.”

The Saturday morning ProcellaCOR treatment was conducted by NYS licensed aquatic herbicide contractor SOLitude Lake Management.

The LGPC said it will conduct follow-up study of the treatment area, including videography 30 and 60 days after treatment and a comprehensive vegetation survey in August to inform it about the efficacy of the efforts and potential future invasive milfoil control projects.

The LGA likewise said they’ll conduct “extensive and comprehensive” data collection of its own, while “evaluating future legal options.”

The Park Commission insists the science is on their side. “Studied by the US EPA, Canada, the European Union, and every state in the continental US, ProcellaCOR is an aquatic plant growth hormone that has no impact on human or ecological health, and breaks down within hours following application,” its press release said.

It noted, “Per EPA and NYS product registration”:

  • There are no drinking water restrictions following application. ProcellaCOR is authorized and has been used in public drinking water supplies many times.
  • There are no swimming restrictions following application.
  • There are no fishing restrictions following application.
  • There are no lawn irrigation restrictions.”

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