Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz is quoted as saying: “My hope is this is a transition to a lessened reliance on herbicides and pesticides. Every move towards the goal of having minimal or zero use of herbicides should be applauded.”
Mayor Katz had asked DOT to halt the spraying to protect Otsego Lake — the village’s water supply — from these chemicals saying that under Public Health Law, the village was authorized to create regulations, which state “no herbicides, pesticides or toxic chemicals shall be discharged, applied, or allowed to enter any reservoir or watercourse.”
Perhaps this means that now the village will act against a much greater threat to the water supply, the dousing of the Leatherstocking Golf Course with even worse pesticides than DOT utilizes. After all, the golf course is directly on the shores of the lake, closer to the village’s water intake, and covers many times the area that the Route 80 roadsides represent.
In 2006, the Leatherstocking Golf Course used 1,616 pounds and 137.1 gallons of 23 different pesticides, all recognized as dangerous compounds, a number of which are listed as having acute toxicity. The 2007 usage was even higher. The golf course has not released its chemical usage since. No surprise there.
The village has the same authority to regulate the golf course, and certainly can recognize the higher risk it poses to the lake. So will they act? Don’t hold your breath. There has long been a double standard in Cooperstown when it comes to holding the Clark Foundation and its entities responsible for their actions. Not only does the village turn a blind eye, but so do such institutions as the Biological Field Station and the Otsego County Conservation Association, who depend on the foundation for financial support.
Mayor Katz’s words regarding a goal of minimal or zero use of herbicides are great rhetoric. But until the village takes on the big dog in Cooperstown, they will remain just that.