New Brunswick residents are paying private forestry corporations more than ever to apply herbicides on public lands.
Documents obtained by Stop Spraying New Brunswick through the right to information process show that in 2015, the government spent $2.3 million to subsidize herbicide application on public land, with an additional $419,498 spent on spraying private lands.
In 2016 the costs were about the same, with $2.29 million spent to spray public land, with a program total of $2.77 million
Last year, the total subsidy increased to $2.86 million.
“The increased costs make no sense, given the public demands to end the practice of herbicide spraying,” said Vern Faulkner, the communcations director for Stop Spraying New Brunswick. “This taxpayer subsidy is one of the many reasons more and more people each day call for an
end to herbicide spraying.”
In 2017, some 15,841 hectares of public land were sprayed with herbicides despite a petition from more than 35,000 residents calling for an end to this practice.
Glyphosate – the main ingredient in the herbicides applied to Crown land – has been scientifically linked to reproductive defects, liver issues, cancers and a wide array of other health concerns. Further, it has been shown to cause long-term damage to aquatic species and insects, including pollinators like bees. Many in the province also believe the spraying program is part of a larger mismanagement of forests that has led to diminished deer populations.
Herbicides are applied to Crown lands to eliminate hardwood species that forestry companies do not consider valuable, despite business cases showing that harvest of maple and birch products could take place with benefit to the economy.
“The government is not only ignoring calls to end spraying, it is spending more each year to have a dangerous chemical applied to our forests. It’s a slap in the face to the thousands of citizens who have asked their government to do the right thing,” said Faulkner.
Representatives of SSNB will be on hand at the Moncton Sportsman’s Show at the Moncton Coliseum, running Friday to Sunday.