Nalcor’s use of Agent White needs close oversight: Murphy

NDP Environment and Conservation critic George Murphy

NDP Environment and Conservation critic George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) wants clear assurances that government will regulate and monitor Nalcor’s use of Agent White as it constructs the Muskrat Falls transmission line. The chemical, also known as Tordon 101, is banned for domestic use in the province; the province’s continued use of it to clear roadside vegetation has been controversial.

“The Labrador Island Transmission Link has passed its federal environmental assessment, but concerns remain that Nalcor plans to use Agent White to clear vegetation along the power line’s right of way, even though 97 per cent of the cancer-causing poison ends up in the ground water,” Murphy said in the House of Assembly today.

“I ask the Minister of Environment and Conservation, what plan does her department have in place to monitor Nalcor’s use of this dangerous chemical?”

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Murphy cites a particular concern with the use of Agent White on the mostly limestone-based Great Northern Peninsula. He says he is not reassured that the environment, particularly irreplaceable drinking water, will be fully protected. He has asked in the past for the minister to tell the people of the province exactly how the province will monitor 1100 kilometres of transmission link for the lifetime of this project.

“I ask the Minister if she will commit to ensuring full public notification of all Nalcor use of Agent White, including advance notice, areas sprayed and amount of herbicide deployed?” he said.

He also wants to know whether Nalcor has done an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of mechanical methods of vegetation control, and if that analysis is it publicly available.

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