Concerned Outer Cape citizens urge against NSTAR herbicides

Upcoming spraying part of power company's vegetation control plan

NSTAR has announced it will begin spraying herbicides on the power line easements in the Outer Cape towns of Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro in the near future. The spraying is part of the utility's plan to control vegetation in the area.

In the NSTAR Electric & Gas Five Year Vegetation Management Plan 2008-2012 (a 98 page PDF document available for download from the Town of Eastham website here), the utility has outlined a plan for controlling vegetation in its right of way or ROWs.  Although the current vegetation control plan relies heavily on mechanical mowing, the proposed 3-5 year Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) cycle would come to include the spraying of herbicides in many areas. 

According to the document, NSTAR is in compliance with such state departments and regulations regarding pesticides including the MA Department of Agriculture's 333 CMR 11.00 (regarding the use of the pesticides) and the MA Endangered Animal Species Act (MESA; MGL c. 131 A) to name but two. Many local towns and boards have yet to make a decision on the matter.

Regardless of the stated compliance, many local Outer Cape residents share concerns about the use of herbicides in certain areas deemed delicate including marine habitats, wetlands and those ROWs in proximity to bike paths and area ponds and lakes.  Those concerns are also shared by organizations like Green Cape and Citizens Against the Use of Herbicides on Cape Cod. 

Many Cape Codders are already mindful about protecting water sources and stopping harmful toxins from being absorbed into the soil.  More are opting for natural methods and organic alternatives when it comes to gardening and lawncare. According to the Green Cape website, NSTAR intends to use both Arsenal and Escort XP, both highly leachable and therefore a potentional threat to the Cape's already delicate water situation.

According to Citizens Against the Use of Herbicides on Cape Cod, Eastham residents had until this afternoon to comment to the Massachusetts Rights of Way Vegetation Management Department on a public hearing held in town recently. A second public hearing has been requested.

Those concerned about  the use of herbicides on the Cape and the possible affect on wildlife and drinking water are asked to contact the following individuals:

Many area conservation trusts and water protection coalitions and associations may be found in our non-profit links directory here.

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