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May 15, 2014

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DOT change good news

It’s certainly good news to read that the state Department of Transportation will use an organic substance to control weeds along Route 80 this year, rather than the toxic pesticides they used in the past. This, along with the Village of Cooperstown’s decision to eliminate these chemicals at Doubleday Field, shows it is possible to maintain green spaces without risking public health and threatening the environment.

In addition, the growing presence of organic farms in the region demonstrates that sentiment against use of toxins is real and mainstream.

However, that message does not seem to sink in with Cooperstown’s largest pesticide user, the Leatherstocking Golf Course. This facility, on the shores of Otsego Lake, Cooperstown’s drinking water supply, continues to spray thousands of pounds of chemicals annually, many of which are listed as having acute toxicity. The reason? It is to create an artificially pristine and unnatural landscape for the diversion and recreation of a small group of well-heeled golfers.

To add to its disregard for the public, the golf course refuses to release the details of its pesticide usage. There is an outcry for gas fracking companies to show what chemicals they use in drilling operations. The golf course chemicals are much more dangerous. Should they not have the same requirement?

SUCO’s Biological Field Station and the Otsego County Conservation Association, proclaimed protectors of the lake, remain conspicuous in their silence on this issue. But then both entities are recipients of the largesse of the Clark family, owners of the golf course. Evidently money trumps the environment for these organizations.

So kudos to the state DOT and to the Village of Cooperstown for their sensible decisions regarding pesticides. There is a lesson here for the golf course, but if past practice is any indication, it’s a lesson that will remain unheeded.

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