HAGUE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A pair of bays in Lake George – located along the lake’s western side, in the town of Hague – have had some unwelcome visitors. Eurasian Watermilfoil, an invasive plant, has found its way into the lake. Last week, a solution was approved to deal with the foreign plant – but some aren’t happy about it.

On Thursday evening, the Adirondack Park Commission approved the use of ProcellaCOR EC, an herbicide never before used on Lake George, to eliminate the milfoil issue seen in roughly 7.6 acres of shore leading into Lake George. A permit has been granted to the Lake George Park Commission to use thhe herbicide, which has been used before in the Adirondack Park – at Minerva Lake in 2020. But that’s not enough comfort for many of the lakeside residents who live by the pair of bays in question.

“We don’t feel that’s the way to go on the lake,” said Hague Deputy Supervisor Steve Ramant on Tuesday. “When you put chemicals into drinking water, there’s always a risk.”

Ramant’s name was one of five to vote on a recent resolution by the town of Hague, directly opposing the use of ProcellaCOR EC in Blairs Bay and Sheep Meadow Bay. The vote was a unanimous 5-0 for members of the town board, who say that the relatively newer herbicide hasn’t been researched enough for its potential effects and hazards to be properly understood. That variable is too much for the town, where the majority of residents have water sources linked to the state of water in the lake.

ProcellaCOR EC has been approved for use in New York State since 2019. In a statement to NEWS10 last month, the APA said that the herbicide is classified as “practically non-toxic to fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, which is the lowest toxic value that can be assigned by the federal agency.” Voters in Thursday’s meeting cited existing approvals and classifications as the reason that they felt comfortable with the herbicide’s use in Lake George.

The APA’s vote was part of a lengthy meeting on Thursday, where Ramant attended via Zoom and spoke in opposition of the herbicide. He’s not the only one. Hundreds of letters have been sent by Hague’s residents to the APA, echoing Ramant’s drinking water concerns. They also brought up the amount of time it would take the herbicide to degrade once in the lake, the toxicity of it, and the possibility of Eurasian Watermilfoil – or other weeds – developing strains that resist the herbicide.

During Thursday’s meeting, the APA said 188 letters had been received and reviewed as part of a public comment period. Hague resident Ginger Henry Kuenzel puts the number closer to 300.

“There were a lot of things concerning to me, when I did some reading into (ProcellaCOR EC),” Kuenzel said. “They say that if livestock drink it, they can pass it on to the wrong pants. If livestock are not supposed to drink water treated with this, why should humans drink it?”

The Lake George Association, a group that operates in stewardship and conservation on Lake George, has voiced its own concerns. Staff there said that good news from herbicide test sites like Minerva Lake isn’t enough to put concerns to bed.

“The Lake George Association and Lake George Waterkeeper are extremely disappointed that New York State would forsake its responsibilities for protecting Lake George and approve the use of a toxic chemical herbicide in the Lake,” the LGA wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “As detailed in our formal comments to the Adirondack Park Agency, which narrowly approved the chemical’s use, there simply is not enough scientific evidence about the potential adverse impacts to water quality, human health, and the aquatic plant and animal life of Lake George to proceed at this time. It is even more disturbing that this vote ignored the fact that 300 of the 325 public comment letters received by the Adirondack Park Agency (92%) are opposed to the proposal, and that the elected representatives of the Town of Hague voted unanimously to oppose the project, which will take place within the town’s borders. Following this decision, we are now actively considering our next steps to stop this toxic chemical from being used in Lake George.”

Ramant wasn’t ready to talk about what other steps Hague might be able to take against the use of the herbicide, but Thursday isn’t quite the end. The eventual use of ProcellaCOR EC will be in the hands of the Lake George Park Commission. The commission has treated it as “a tool in the toolbox,” rather than the sole answer to eradicating Eurasian Watermilfoil, and will hold a vote of its own next Tuesday, April 26, on whether (and how liberally) it will actually be used.

The herbicide would replace or supplement the more traditional method of suction harvesting, where divers pull invasive plants by the root in order to dispose of them. Research presented to the APA by the Lake George Park Commission shows that plants in the bays have been resistant to that method in the past. Should proceedings continue on course, use of ProcellaCOR EC could begin in June.