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March 22, 2014

Cooperstown officials oppose spraying along lake

Cooperstown officials are hoping to convince the state Department of Transportation to refrain from resuming the use of herbicides along a stretch of State Route 80 that runs along Otsego Lake — the prime source of drinking water for some 2,000 people.

Mayor Jeff Katz said Friday there is no reason for the state agency to spray chemical concoctions at the weeds along the road side when the growth can be controlled in the same way that Otsego County highway department workers address the same issue along County Route 28 on the east side of the lake: mowing.

Faced with the local opposition last summer, DOT agreed to a temporary suspension of spraying a product called Accord XRT II, which contains glyphosate, the same active ingredient in Roundup, a product made by Monsanto.

“We got a good result last year, and I’m hoping we can again this year,” Katz said.

DOT has described Accord XRT II as a safe product to use near water supplies, noting it is approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and is used to control vegetation near the New York City watershed reservoirs. DOT officials have described the product as effective in eradicating knotweed and poison ivy.

Katz said no meetings have been formally scheduled so far this year to discuss the issue.

DOT officials contacted Friday by The Daily Star said they had no immediate information on the agency’s plan this summer for Route 80. A DOT spokesman based at the agency’s Binghamton office referred questions to DOT headquarters.

The agency’s communications director, Beau Duffy, said the officials familiar with the planning were not available Friday.

James Dean, the chairman of the village of Cooperstown’s Environmental Conservation Committee, said he strongly opposes herbicide applications along Route 80, which runs along the lake’s west bank.

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