Eversource Energy Plans to Spray Again This Year

PowerlinesBARNSTABLE – Eversource Energy intends to spray vegetation underneath transmission lines again across the Cape this year and environmentalists are hoping to halt the operation.

But Eversource Spokesman Michael Durand said the company’s process is safe for the environment.

The company’s 2015 operational plan for right-of-way maintenance is being reviewed by state officials.

All Cape towns, except Brewster and Provincetown, were included in the plan submitted to the state at the end of January.

Residents have until the March 27 to submit public comments to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources regarding Eversource Energy’s spraying plan.

“Once again, that is an integrated vegetation management program which does include the targeted use of herbicides on undesirable and invasive species. Not only is this approach one that has worked well for us for over 10 years but it is also considered the industry standard across the country for properly maintaining utility rights of way,” Durand said.

GreenCAPE Director Sue Phelan wants alternative methods to be discussed.

“I’d like to see a meeting about how to utilize alternatives to clear these rights-of-ways so that people are not exposed to an undisclosed group of chemicals,” said Phelan.

GreenCAPE’s mission is to encourage non-toxic methods of pest control, agriculture, home, garden, lawn and turf care to eliminate hazards from the air and water of Cape Cod.

Many environmental groups across the Cape have spoken out against Eversource Energy’s practice of spraying vegetation and every Cape town has passed a resolution to stop the practices.

Phelan said another concern is that the company does not give residents proper notice before spraying.

“They are actually spraying on private property and town-owned lands,” said Phelan. “They are spraying on land they don’t own without giving meaningful notification to the people that live there.”

Durand said, “We’ve done our best to alleviate the concerns of town officials by explaining our program to them when asked. The program is regulated by the state. It’s the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and it’s the same [department] that regulates all users of herbicides, assuming those users are regulated. So for example on Cape Cod, Eversource is estimated to use less than half of one percent of all herbicides on the Cape. By and large, the largest users of herbicides are residents themselves and that’s unregulated use.”

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