It’s time for 21st Century forestry practices in N.B.: Glynn

Tracy Glynn, the Conservation Council’s Forest Conservation Coordinator, was featured in the top story of CBC New Brunswick’s evening news program on Wednesday, June 28, a feature about the widely-used herbicide glyphosate.

In July, California will add glyphosate — the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup (and its forest cousin Vision) — to its list of chemicals linked to cancer, and will require products that contain the compound to carry a warning label about its carcinogenic effects.

Monsanto, the chemical giant which produces Roundup, had appealed classifying glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical, but California courts squashed the company’s appeal this week.

Glynn told CBC News that she hopes New Brunswick lawmakers will follow the lead of California and other jurisdictions, such as Sweden, France, and Argentina, to classify glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical and phase out its use on Crown forests in New Brunswick.

“Hopefully it puts more pressure on provincial and municipal governments to look at pesticides and to consider warning labels, and then phase it out completely,” Glynn said.

The Conservation Council has long called for the phase-out of herbicides on N.B.’s Crown forest. Québec banned herbicide use in its forests in 2001 due to public concern over the human health impacts of spraying and an Environmental Impact Assessment of the practice.

Glynn noted that municipalities and provinces do have the authority to take their own action to protect the health of people and the environment.

“We know that a Supreme Court decision affirmed … that municipalities and provincial governments can limit and ban pesticides,” Glynn told CBC.

“And now we’re spraying a record amount, the most of any province, at a time when New Brunswickers have never been more opposed to it. So we think it’s time and New Brunswick needs to enter the 21st century in terms of forestry practices.”

A report on glyphosate released last July by New Brunswick’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health found that the herbicide is used more widely in New Brunswick forests than any other province in Canada. It found 40 per cent of the forest land cut in N.B. in 2014 was sprayed with glyphosate, compared to 28 per cent in Ontario, 21 per cent in Alberta, 18 per cent in Manitoba and only 11 per cent in Nova Scotia.

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