For Immediate Release: May 4, 2017 6:00pm
Hinesburg, VT – Tonight, there was a public hearing in Hinesburg to address the proposed permit (2240-ANC) to inject Lake Iroquois with the herbicide SePRO Sonar AS® (active ingredient fluridone) this spring and summer.
“I am not satisfied that the application for permit 2240-ANC adequately addresses all of the permitting requirements,” said Meg Handler of Hinesburg and the Concerned Citizens for Lake Iroquois community group. “We need long term, sustainable, non-toxic methods to control milfoil. The citizens of the four abutting towns – Williston, Hinesburg, Richmond and St. George must have the opportunity to discuss and research alternatives to herbicide application.”
“The Permit Application calls for $350,000 worth of treatments over the next 5 years, and nowhere near that much has been spent on any non-toxic method of control,” said Dan Westervelt, Vermont and New Hampshire Community Organizer with Community Action Works. “We need a sustainable non-toxic means of control and time to put some research into coming up with a plan, which includes coming up with the funds to sustainably treat the problem. The permit applicants say they tried alternative treatments but they have not done so in a sustainable and committed way. Using this chemical once isn’t going to solve the problem either and instead will forever taint Lake Iroquois with these long-lasting pesticides. If we’re going to need a long-term plan anyway, let’s develop a non-toxic one! We need to give non-toxic methods a real chance before resorting to chemicals.”
If it is approved, the plan is to start treatment with the herbicide SePRO Sonar AS® very soon.
In order for this permit to be passed, according to Vermont Law (10 V.S.A. § 1455), Secretary Moore can only issue a permit for the use of a pesticide in waters of the state when the applicant demonstrates and the secretary finds ALL five of the following points:
(1) there is no reasonable nonchemical alternative available;
(2) there is acceptable risk to the nontarget environment;
(3) there is negligible risk to public health;
(4) a long‐range management plan has been developed which incorporates a schedule of pesticide minimization; and
(5) there is a public benefit to be achieved from the application of a pesticide or, in the case of a pond located entirely on a landowner’s property, no undue adverse effect upon the public good.
Many residents in attendance voiced their concern that many — if not all — of these points had not been adequately addressed.
“The permit also says that the safety protocol for this chemical is to abstain from irrigating with contaminated water for 30 days,” said Hunter Hedenberg of Hinesburg, a soon-to-be UVM grad. “You are proposing 3-4 doses per summer for 6 years, which is a total of 90 days per summer.”
Even those who could not be there were able to submit their comment into the public record. “This hearing is being held in order to see if any new light might be shed on the topic of treating Lake Iroquois with the herbicides for Milfoil control,” said David Emmons, from Wells Vermont and of Lake Saint Catherine Conservation Fund. “I hope those in attendance can clearly see the shortsighted and detrimental effects a treatment like this would cause, and I trust I have made it clear why the legal findings cannot be arrived at by the State department of natural resources. The good news is there is a sustainable and economically feasible alternative and I would be happy to work with any lake representative on seeking out such a path.”
You can see more about Concerned Citizens for Lake Iroquois on their facebook page: https://goo.gl/XXGTtu
Community Action Works’s mission is to work side-by-side with communities, providing you with the skills and resources needed to prevent or clean up pollution at the local level. Since 1987, we have organized over 750 communities across New England to put together plans and strategies to effectively solve the problems they face. In doing so, we train neighbors to not only defend their health and safety, but to think strategically and come together for proactive, positive change. In our 29 year history, we have helped win hundreds of campaigns to protect the health of citizens and neighborhoods across the region.