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Members of ritzy New York golf club demand thousands of dollars in refunds after illegal pesticides destroy course

Pesticide use

(NaturalNews) Private members of a golf club in Rye, New York, are up in arms after pesticide misuse destroyed the course, causing a "mysterious green residue" to begin coating players' shoes. The obnoxious goo started off as a joke, but tensions began to escalate "as the lush course transformed into a field of dustbowls," according to The Journal News.

The entire course closed in a matter of weeks, with members soon demanding thousands of dollars in refunds. Some even threatened to sue the city-owned club, which charges anywhere from about $2,000–$5,000 a year for a membership.

The chaos quickly grabbed the attention of the local media, prompting an investigation by The Journal News, which uncovered some disturbing facts about the mismanagement of pesticides used on Rye Golf Club.

The newspaper found major gaps in oversight regarding the application of millions of pounds of pesticides used not only on golf courses, but also at businesses and homes. Health risks associated with pesticides are heightened in Westchester County, home to the ruined course.

Several New York counties spraying more than 1 million pounds of pesticides per year

Of New York's 62 counties, six are reported to have sprayed more than 1 million pounds of pesticides in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, the paper noted.

Westchester County ranked third-highest in pesticide use, spraying an estimated 2.26 million pounds that same year. Rockland County was the sixth-highest pesticide user. Data indicates that both counties are using more pesticides (mostly on golf courses) than on agricultural areas.

"All of the highest-use counties were golf-course dense, with Suffolk on Long Island topping the list at 5 million pounds," the paper reported.

However, those numbers could be even higher as the investigation uncovered "significant flaws in pesticide data collected over the past decade from golf courses, farmers, landscapers and pest-control companies in New York."

It appears that golf clubs around the state have been purchasing illegal and unregistered pesticides, avoiding detection by authorities.

When questioned by the local media, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency downplayed the lack of oversight, saying that they are too overwhelmed "by the volume of pesticides flowing across the nation's highways."

"There's just so much product that is used every day that we are not everywhere," said Judith Enck, EPA regional administer for New York.

But what Enck failed to mention, is that the agency is in fact responsible for the large volume of harmful pesticides on today's market, which the EPA is now having difficulty managing.

Poor record keeping and lax enforcement responsible for pesticide misuse

The paper's investigation found "porous pesticide record-keeping, lax enforcement of environmental protection laws and public-health risks spanning several states, including New York."

Accurate and more recent pesticide data is largely unavailable due to the fact that "many commercial applicators filed inaccurate or illegible records," reports the paper, adding that "the state Department of Environmental Conservation is scrambling to correct errors."

Environmental advocacy groups are understandably concerned about the state's incompetency and inability to properly regulate pesticides.

"The illegal uses of pesticides that are going on that are not caught because of inadequate oversight are adding fuel to a burning fire that is raging across this country on golf courses, and in agriculture and homes and community parks," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

Rye city manager Marcus Serrano told reporters that substantial discounts were given to members to encourage them to rejoin the club. He also said that Rye Golf Club plans to avoid purchasing unregistered pesticides while it looks for safer alternatives to manage the green.





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