LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Friday, a New York State Supreme Court judge made a decision on a conflict over whether to use an herbicide on Lake George. Judge Robert Muller ruled in favor of the Lake George Association (LGA) and several other groups who petitioned last year to halt the use of ProcellaCOR in two lake bays.
Last month, state groups including the Adirondack Park Association and Lake George Park Commission were represented in state court against the LGA, Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, the town of Hague, and a private resident, who collectively petitioned for a halt to state approval of ProcellaCOR. The herbicide, called safe for use by state groups, would have been used to treat populations of Eurasian watermilfoil residing in Blairs Bay and Sheep Meadow Bay, both located midway up the lake.
“We are grateful for Judge Muller’s detailed and thoughtful ruling, which recognizes the intense public opposition and the great number of outstanding scientific questions regarding the potential adverse impacts of ProcellaCOR on the water, plants and organisms of Lake George,” wrote the Lake George Association in a release on Friday. “New York State long ago established that Lake George is deserving of special protections as a Class AA-Special water body and drinking water source, and this decision affirms that special status.”
In his ruling, Muller put emphasis on the number of scientific questions that exist regarding the impact of ProcellaCOR on Lake George, as an ecosystem and drinking water source. He also cited the fervent public reaction against the herbicide’s use. Protestors held signs against the herbicide’s use on the hearing date, and the town of Hague passed a resolution opposing the use.
State groups argued that ProcellaCOR would be safe for use in Lake George, pointing to use in Minerva Lake and elsewhere, where the chemical was found to be undetectable by three days after application. Petitioners argued that more research needs to be done, and raised concerns as to the creation of an amount of dead milfoil that could feed algal blooms.
“The decision was largely procedurally based,” said Lake George Park Commission Executive Director David Wick. “On the science front, there was really no challenge as to the safety. The decision indicates that all parties agree that, to achieve the commission’s goals, (ProcellaCOR) is the way to go – but to get to that stage, there’s a process.”
The ruling validates the initial injunction which halted ProcellaCOR’s use in 2022, but doesn’t stop the Lake George Park Commission from applying again. In fact, the organization already has, announcing an intent to apply to use the herbicide in 2023 in late January.