The BC environment ministry is looking into complaints about herbicide spraying along the rail line between Terrace and Prince Rupert.
The T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation has accused CN of improperly using pesticides to control weeds along the tracks, in some cases right next to the Skeena River and its tributaries.
Recent pictures taken by the group show what appears to be dead vegetation the along tracks over a 100 kilometre stretch of the route, raising concerns about the method used and its potential effects on fish and fish habitat.
In an emailed statement to CFNR, an official with the Ministry of Environment confirms staff are conducting an inspection regarding complaints of “significant pesticide overspray”.
The Ministry says the inspection will take two weeks and will include a review of CN’s and the contractor’s pesticide use records for the treatment.
Just what was used on the vegetation isn’t clear. CN’s most recent Pest Management Plan (PMP), which lists pesticide active ingredients that can be used, expired in May. The Ministry says that information will also be included in its inspection and results.
A statement provided to CFNR by CN, the company says its “vegetation control program incorporates environmental sensitivities such as restrictions on the use of herbicides near waterways”. CN says it is also reviewing the recent work along CN’s right-of-way between Terrace and Prince Rupert.
It adds vegetation control is a vital part of safe railway operations and it reaches out to communities to share information about herbicide application.