Ad Hoc Albany Committee To Uphold Environmental Law.
February 7, 2011
To the Common Council and Members of the Press:
The City of Albany has violated its own Pesticide Ordinance since its passage in 1998. Two years of FOILS and activism, from 2008-9, focused on protecting our birds of prey from anti-coagulant rodenticides and phasing out the use of insecticides near the Pine Bush. After an obvious herbicide spraying near children in a public park was publicized in the press, the Common Council recognized the dimensions of the problem and formed a Committee on the Pesticide Ordinance. In part, that committee was formed due to report the City Auditor published on pesticide purchases and applications by the City funded with tax dollars.
That Committee began meeting in late Spring in 2010. Many presenters spoke to the committee, including our Parks and Recreation staff, who did not obey the ordinance; Judy Stacey, the City Gardener, who did read the ordinance and abided by it; Albany County representatives who have been able to successfully follow their own pesticide ban (more extensive than ours) with a simple and effective education and accountability system; Cornell Cooperative Extension personnel who teach programs on Integrated Pest Management; Laura Haight of NYPIRG, whose organization helped pass the 1998 ban; Gregg Bell who exposed a previous instance of the City disobeying State Pesticide Law and others. Many ways to implement the law have been discussed.
Nonetheless the Committee stopped meeting last fall during Budget Season and has not yet begun to meet again.
Pesticides continue to be used. They are sprayed on our public spaces. They are spread on the football field at Bleecker Stadium where high school students play. They are put in the Normanskill Watershed, where the golf course does not even live up to the standard set by Colonial Acres golf course nearby which uses far fewer chemicals.
It is time that the City just obeys the law. The current state of affairs makes mockery of the environmental legislation on the books in this state.
We demand sustainability and green accountability.
Ward Stone, ScD, former NYS Wildlife Pathologist
Peter Henner, Esq
Steven Downs, Esq
Kathy Manley, Esq
Mark Mishler, Esq
Rezsin Adams, Save the Pine Bush
Anne Rabe, Center for Health and Environmental Justice (CHEJ)
Grace Nichols, Save the Pine Bush
Tracy Frisch, MS Entomology
Virginia Boyle Travers, Hudson-Mohawk Chapter, the Sierra Club
Elyse Kunz, Community Advocates for Safe Emissions
Published in March/April 2011 Newsletter