Acadie Nouvelle article: https://www.acadienouvelle.com/actualites/2022/05/04/energie-nb-na-pas-recu-de-directive-pour-reduire-son-utilisation-du-glyphosate/?fbclid=IwAR32xa-kwAJoKc31GQqubCT04vrN-hbBi_-hiwQ5K0E5VOR-rSpYbwupPBU
NB Power has not received a directive to reduce its use of glyphosate
By Jean-Francois Boisvert
Despite a recommendation to the government that NB Power stop using herbicides this year to control vegetation under its power lines, the Crown corporation plans to go ahead and spray some 1,000 hectares this summer.
Last November, the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship made some 20 recommendations regarding the use of glyphosate-based herbicides in the province.
This all-party committee of the Legislative Assembly proposed, among other things, that the crown corporation NB Power begin now to phase out the application of pesticides under its power lines. This recommendation will not be followed. At least not this year.
According to company spokesperson Marc Belliveau, NB Power plans to use this method again this summer to control vegetation over an area of approximately 900 to 1,000 hectares. This is about the same area as last year. The affected areas will be announced by the end of the month.
At the same time, Mr. Belliveau indicates that NB Power has not received any restrictive instructions from the government concerning its herbicide application program.
“It is the Legislative Assembly that must decide the question, which recommendations of the report it intends to implement. Being a state-owned corporation, if the government forces us to change our practices, we will take action accordingly. But we are still waiting for this directive, we have not received anything so far asking us to change our approach to the use of herbicides”, he underlines, confirming in passing that in the absence of a change of guideline, the program continues.
He also wishes to point out that NB Power scrupulously follows the rules established with respect to the spreading of herbicides.
In addition to its recommendation for NB Power, the committee also suggested that the areas where landspreading should be prohibited double near dwellings (500 meters to one kilometer) and that they be established 100 meters from protected natural areas, courses of water and wetlands.
We also advocated the launch within a year of the tabling of the report of a major cost-benefit study to compare the use and non-use of herbicides in the management of tree plantations in New Brunswick, and that the impacts of landspreading on wild game and flora be monitored more closely (water and sediment samples taken on a regular basis).
What about these suggestions? In fact, six months after the tabling of the report, it is maintained that it has still not completed its review process.
“The government is still reviewing the recommendations,” confirms a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Vicky Lutes.
The herbicide program will continue this year. Permit applications have already been submitted to the ministry for approval.
During the filing of the report, the spokeswoman for the environmental group Stop Spraying New Brunswick, Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, was rather lukewarm. She was hoping for much tougher measures, or even a complete cessation of spreading.
Six months later, she is sorry to see the government’s slowness in responding to the committee’s recommendations, especially since the committee’s work had already been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some recommendations could have been put forward this year. It is in May and nothing has been done. NB Power is moving forward with its spraying program and the provincial government will soon be issuing licenses to forestry companies. In short, nothing has changed, the New Brunswick forest has just lost another year,” she said.
According to the environmental activist, this slowness confirms the lack of political will to tackle this issue.
“However, the population has spoken loud and clear and the government continues to turn a deaf ear. She no longer wants this practice in the public forest. At some point, I believe that a government must do what the population demands. Other jurisdictions in the country have done so,” she points out.
She adds that the publication of a recent study showing the degradation of the Acadian forest and the great decrease in certain species of birds should nevertheless raise a red flag with regard to the use of herbicides as well as forestry practices. in New Brunswick.
“It is very concerning, and the nonchalant attitude of the government in this file is disconcerting”, adds Ms. Lubbe-D’Arcy”