Push to pause ProcellaCOR in Lake George continues

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Photo by Doug LaRocque. Protesters voiced their opposition to the use of ProcellaCOR in Lake George.

By Doug LaRocque

NYVT Media

LAKE GEORGE – The Lake George Association (LGA) is not ready to throw in the towel and the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) is just as determined to proceed with the introduction of the pesticide ProcellaCOR to battle Eurasian water milfoil in the lake.

A protest demonstration was held May 28 outside the LGA headquarters in Lake George. Those in attendance waved signs saying “not 1 drop” to passing motorists, many responding with horn honks of support. The phrase “not 1 drop” refers to the potency of the pesticide and the belief it only takes one drop into a large swimming pool for ProcellaCOR to react with substances such as milfoil.

LGA Chair Peter Menzies opened the Association’s remarks by exclaiming “Lake George is not the place for a reckless experiment.”

His comments were directed toward the LGA’s contention that a state of Minnesota study showed ProcellaCOR does indeed contain PFAS chemicals, a known cancer-causing agent. He was followed to the microphone by the LGA’s Waterkeeper, Chris Navitsky, whose job it is to defend the natural resources of the lake and its watershed. He claims the LGPC’s application to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) uses only data provided by the pesticide’s manufacturers, which he said was derived from “testing conducted in small vessels under controlled laboratory conditions.”

He also claimed testing of ProcellaCOR in a full-sized lake environment has proven it to be ineffective.

Spot treatment is the goal

The LGPC said ProcellaCOR is meant for spot treatments of milfoil, which is why they have chosen Sheep Meadow Bay in Dresen and Blair’s Bay in another Washington County town, Putnam.

Dresden Town Supervisor Paul Ferguson doesn’t buy it. He said ProcellaCOR is meant to be used in 25 feet of water or less, where it can be activated by sunlight. Water depths in some of these areas are over 90 feet, he said, questioning its effectiveness and long-lasting ecological effects.

Ferguson was emphatic in his belief as to why these two bays were chosen for the first applications.

“I asked LGPC Executive Director Dave Wicks, why here (Dresden) and I was told there is no one up there,” Ferguson said.

The LGPC fires back

The Lake George Park Commission has said there is no evidence to date that ProcellaCOR is dangerous, saying publicly the pesticide “is chemically different from long-chain PFAS compounds which are known to be harmful and persistent in the environment and human bodies.”

The LGPC also contends that “ProcellaCOR has been studied extensively and doesn’t pose a risk to non-targeted organisms, including humans.”

At the LGPC meeting later that morning, the LGA offered to pay for the hand harvesting of milfoil from the two bays, but that offer was rejected. During public comment, 19 residents of the Lake Geroge area spoke out in opposition to ProcellaCOR. The commission listened but did not engage the speakers, instead suggesting they contact Wick directly.

The commission then voted to proceed with their application to the APA, with six affirmative votes and two abstentions.

No help from Hochul

During the morning protest, speakers called upon Gov. Kathy Hochul to get involved and “save the Queen of American Lakes.” Those hopes were dashed when the interim commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation read a statement that said, “Gov. Hochul supports putting ProcellaCOR in Lake George.”

Nancy Hawley, the LGA’s director of Marketing and Communications, said she hopes the governor’s statement does not all but ensure the APA’s acceptance of the LGPC’s application. She said the LGA remains positive and committed to its push to pause the use of ProcellaCOR “until we can be certain it doesn’t contain PFAS.”

The LGA initially obtained a Supreme Court ruling blocking the application of ProcellaCOR, but that decision was overturned by the Appellate Division. That ruling does give leave to the LGA to appeal to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

Hawley says they plan to do just that. Whether the case will be heard and a verdict rendered before the LGCP’s planned June application (if approved by the APA) remains uncertain.