A local group plans to protest NSTAR's herbicide use Friday, but the power company says there is no date set to start spraying here on Cape Cod. Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer (POCCA) announced that they will be joined by other local groups in a protest of the power company's Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) program at NSTAR Headquarters on Willow Street in West Yarmouth.
According to a poster distributed by POCCA, NSTAR plans to resume spraying along its right-of-way areas as soon as Monday, November 18. But that is not so, says NSTAR spokesperson Michael Durand. When asked if the spraying would start up on Monday Durand replied in an email that it would not as the company has not yet received approval to do so from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR).
NSTAR had placed a "right-of-way maintenance" public notice in the Cape Cod Times earlier in November stating that treatment period would be "November 12 to December 24, 2013" and outlining the process and herbicides to be used (Krenite S mixed with Escort XP).
DAR maintains regulatory jurisdiction over the application of herbicides in right-of-way areas under (333 CMR 11.00). The department had originally established a comment period for the right-of-way spray on Cape Cod until September 20, 2013, then extended that comment period for 45 days until November 4, 2013.
In August, NSTAR announced that after four years of mechanical clearing only here on the Cape, it would begin to reintroduced controlled herbicide spraying in the early fall. At that time, Steve Sullivan, Vice President of Operations Services for Northeast Utilities, NSTAR's parent company, said targeted herbicide use is far more effective than repeated mowing in controlling vegetation grown along the lines in the right-of-ways.
When NSTAR receives the green light from the state, "controlled application" will be used in the towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Falmouth, Harwich, Orleans and Sandwich, according to an earlier release from the power company. Read NSTAR's 2013 Yearly Operational Plan for the Cape here.
The POCCA protest is set for 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at NSTAR HQ on Friday, November 15. POCCA, founded in July 2013, advocates for tighter controls on the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers here on the Cape.