APCC Calls on Eversource to Discontinue Herbicide Use

DENNIS – The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) is calling on Eversource Energy to pursue different alternatives to vegetation control along the energy supplier’s power lines across the Cape.

In a letter sent to Eversource and the Massachusetts State Pesticide Bureau, the APCC called for the use of measures other than herbicide to curb vegetation growth.

The letter was written in response to Eversource’s 2019 operation plan for the year in regards to its vegetation management program.

The program is scheduled to take place during this year’s growing season, targeting the Towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet and Yarmouth.

The APCC expressed concern about potential adverse environmental impacts that could result from the spraying of the herbicides near Cape Cod’s natural resources and drinking water locations. In Eversource’s plan, herbicides can be sprayed within 10 feet of bodies of water and within 50 feet of private wells containing drinking water.

“Whatever you put on the ground ends up in the water in some fashion and we feel that the right of way herbicide spraying program that Eversource has and has gotten approval from by the state is really unnecessarily putting the water resources of the Cape at risk,” said APCC Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb.

“There are other equally effective methods that Eversource could apply to control plant growth in their rights of way without relying on herbicides that have very questionable and very significant health effects.”

The APCC is further calling on Eversource, the State Pesticide Bureau and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources – which regulates the use of herbicides across the Commonwealth.

Eversource Spokesman Reid Lamberty said integrated vegetation management (IVM) programs, such as the one used by Eversource, are “used by companies and communities all across the state and country”

“They have proven time and again to be the most effective in promoting long-term sustainability of a natural habitat. Our IVM program is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and is subject to very strict oversight and unannounced inspections,” Lamberty said.

“Our IVM program promotes a native type of population of low-growing shrubs and grasses, selectively eliminating those tall-growing and invasive species. This is a critical part of our commitment to continue electric service reliability.”

The APCC also says that the practice of clear-cut mowing, one of Eversource’s stated alternative methods to vegetation control, “can be devastating to sensitive habitats and rare species when done indiscriminately.” Instead, the APCC suggests manual removal of vegetation, or removal by hand.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center 

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