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December 16, 2013

Seward, Clark should get wise on pesticides

The Daily Star

---- — There are two people who needed to read the Nov. 11 Star article regarding Cooperstown’s decision to ban pesticides from Doubleday Field. The first is state Sen. James Seward, who in 2010 voted against the Child Safe Playing Fields Act. This legislation prohibited use of these dangerous chemicals on school fields and playgrounds and day care centers — a common-sense measure if there ever was one. But Seward caved in to pressure from pesticide manufacturers and applicators, disregarding the health and well-being of children exposed to pesticides just when their developing brains and bodies are most vulnerable.

Fortunately, a large majority of the state legislators recognized the dangers, giving kids the protection they need.

The second individual who should take a lesson from the Doubleday decision is Jane Clark, head of the Leatherstocking Golf Course on the shores of Otsego Lake, Cooperstown’s drinking water supply. The golf course spreads large quantities of pesticides along the lake, threatening residents and visitors alike. In 2008, the golf course used more than 3,300 pounds and 100 gallons of pesticides — many carcinogenic, acutely toxic, and developmental or reproductive toxins. The golf course has not released its pesticide usage since. Is there any wonder why? Ms. Clark evidently gives higher priority to maintaining an artificially pristine landscape than to public health.

The bold decision by the village to make Doubleday Field pesticide-free, and last year’s action by the state Department of Transportation to halt roadside spraying along the lake, show that when there is a will, these poisons can successfully be removed from our environment. And life will still go on — even better than before.

As the first community on the Susquehanna, Cooperstown could and should send untainted water downstream. Let’s hope Sen. Seward and Ms. Clark join this effort.

Andrew Mason