Spraying subsidy up to $2.86 million per year

 

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.

Stop Spraying New Brunswick unveils new logo

The board of Stop Spraying New Brunswick today approved a new logo. The simple, clean design features a leafless tree and the name of the organization.

Several designs were displayed on the SSNB Facebook page with a poll seeking input, and the tree-and-name design proved the most popular, with a similar design coming second.

The logo that won captures the main concern of our supporters: the loss of hardwood trees and our biodiverse forests, with the resultant loss of wildlife and economic opportunities in rural New Brunswick,” stated SSNB president Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.

The new logo, created in-house and unveiled shortly after the decision, provides SSNB a modern-looking logo that expresses its fundamental concerns in a simple fashion. It retains the black-red-white colour theme of the former logo.

The organization will soon launch a campaign where it will create videos featuring citizens of the province expressing their concerns about herbicide application.

The government has refused to end its spraying program – which costs $2 million per year – despite some 35,000 signatories to a petition calling for the end of such activity on Crown Land.

SSNB files request for spraying costs

Today, Stop Spraying New Brunswick, Inc. (SSNB) filed an official request seeking to learn how much the taxpayer pays to have forestry companies spray glyphosate-based herbicides on Crown forests.

It’s important for the public to know how much they are subsidizing big forestry companies,” stated Vern Faulkner, a director with the non-profit advocacy group.

The Right to Information and Privacy Protection Act request, better known as a freedom of information request, asks for total costs spent in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In 2015, the Auditor-General filed an official report where she revealed the government spent approximately of $2 million each year to fund glyphosate-based herbicide spraying on Crown forests.

This support given to private forestry amounted to $2.05 million in 2009, $1.92 million in 2010, $2.25 million in 2011, and $2.09 million in 2012.

Many of the supporters of SSNB believe the province, by allowing the application of glyphosate on Crown forests, has not done enough to protect the environment. This view is supported by a growing number of peer-reviewed scientific studies, but SSNB also wishes to highlight the costs the taxpayer incurs.

Simply put, the government spends taxpayer’s money supporting private forestry company activity on public land,” said Faulkner. “It’s a subsidy, nothing less, and the voter – as we approach an election – should know how much we’re paying.”

The government now has 30 days to respond to the Right to Information and Privacy Protection Act request.

SSNB’s new communications director interviewed

Veteran journalist Vern Faulkner has joined the Stop Spraying team. He will be taking over some of the SSNB communications duties moving forward.

Former Maritime-area talk-show guru Todd Veinotte today interviewed new Stop Spraying board member, Vern Faulkner.

Faulkner, formerly the editor of the Saint Croix Courier, built a reputation as a hard-hitting, call-it-like-it-is journalist. He has joined the board of SSNB to assist in promoting the board’s causes. In this podcast, he speaks with Todd about the three critical factors underlying the need to end glyphosate spraying on Crown land: health and the environment, taxpayer subsidies, and the fact it has become part of a forestry management system that doesn’t make the best use of hardwoods.

Here’s the full podcast: drop in at about 18:30 to hear the SSNB section.

Todd Vienotte show podcast