EVERSOURCE'S 5 year VMP 2023 - 2027
is out for our comments
The Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) is written by Eversource, then is given to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) for approval. MDAR seeks comments about the VMP from residents and town boards of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. Unfortunately, the VMP lists herbicides to maintain vegetation overgrowth along power lines. Since there are other successful ways, please ask MDAR to not approve the VMP as it is written. Ask MDAR to remove herbicides for vegetation management above our aquifer. See below what the VMP actually reads and write what you desire to the below:
Please send your comments to MDAR by November 7th, 2022 at 5pm:
Clayton Edwards, Director of Rights-of-Way Programs
Massachusetts State Pesticide Bureau (MDAR)
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
225 Turnpike Road
Southboro, Mass. 01772
This is the document written by MDAR to all who wish to write comment letters:
NOTE to abutters:
TO ALL ABUTTERS who wish to opt-out to herbicide use on your land:
Eversource has an Easement on the Deed to your land,
it is 2 pages long and it does not list with use of herbicides to maintain vegetation.
IF YOU ARE AN ABUTTER, call Bill Hayes and request a time to meet on your land.
And say you don't want herbicides used on your property this year (you need to do this yearly)
William Hayes, Supervisor Eversource Energy Vegetation Management
247 Station Drive, SE-370 Westwood, MA 02090-9230 or call: 781-441-3832 (office)
For residents, homeowners, business owners
please read the below and write a comment letter to MDAR by November 7th 5pm ~ thank you.
For you to copy and paste and send to your town departments the below information:
This email is a request to allow this important matter onto your next Select Board agenda, to have your board write and send a comment letter to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture by the deadline of November 7th at 5pm. Also would you please email me the comment letter written from your town for my records, thank you very much.
Pursuant to the Rights-of-Way Management Regulations (333 CMR 11.00) in order to apply pesticides to control vegetation to maintain Rights-of-Ways, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) must approve a Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) and a Yearly Operational Plan (YOP). The VMP is intended to justify the need to control vegetation, identify target vegetation, describe the intended methods of control, describe methods for identifying sensitive areas, describe operational guidelines for applicators, outline a program of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) designed to reduce the use of herbicides, and describe alternative land use activities.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will accept written testimony concerning the Eversource Energy, Cape Cod and Islands VMP until the close of business (5pm): Monday, November 7, 2022.
Commentary should be sent to:
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
225 Turnpike Road
Southboro, Mass. 01772
Thank you for continuing to get onto Mass. state records on this important matter.
The VMP as it is written by Eversource:
Please know Eversource's Yearly Operational Plan (YOP) will be out within the next 6 months or so. This plan will list the current towns to be maintained in 2023, with a list of herbicides they plan to use. There will be 21 or 30 days allowed for comment once that is submitted to MDAR.
Below is last year's YOP 2022 so you can see the language:
Remember now is the time to comment on only the VMP 2023-2027.
Thank you very much for your participation before the November 7th deadline.
It is important to keep your town involved through the years to show the State you don't want vegetation managed along power lines with herbicides when they are above our aquifer.
If you have any questions, please reach me at:
Thank you ~
Want to hear what's going on?
This is a 30 minute radio show on WOMR with Laura Kelley and Paula Sperry:
~ It is up to us to help protect the land we all love and the resources around it ~
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THIS IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY TODAY!
Please share this with your friends and family as well.
Power in numbers will be the only way to prevail in this unfortunate situation.
The Provincetown Independent on March 26, 2021:
Eversource to Use Glyphosate on Power Lines
The company will clear rights-of-way with herbicides this summer
BY CHRISTINE LEGERE MAR 24, 2021
Wellfleet and Eastham are among a dozen towns on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard scheduled for herbicide application this year by Eversource along the company’s rights-of-way. Workers will be out there with backpack sprayers from June to mid-October.
On the Outer Cape, the last leg of the main electricity transmission line through Eastham and Wellfleet is targeted. “The right-of-way roughly follows Route 6 up to Wellfleet but much deeper east,” said Bill Hayes, transmission vegetation supervisor for Eversource. It includes some areas in the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Glyphosate, a herbicidal compound historically applied along the power lines, is once again listed for use this year on the Cape. It is the principal ingredient in the weed killer Rodeo. As usual, its planned use here is stirring opposition.
Glyphosate has been the subject of several high-profile lawsuits that claim its use in herbicides causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. According to Reuters, more than 100,000 lawsuits have been filed over the herbicide Roundup and other products containing glyphosate.
The World Health Organization concluded in 2015 that glyphosate had a probable link to cancer, and several countries have banned its use.
In addition to glyphosate, other herbicides slated for application here contain fosamine ammonium, metsulfuron-methyl, imazapyr, and triclopyr choline.
In 2017, concern over a plan to use herbicides to control phragmites as part of the Herring River Restoration Project prompted the executive council overseeing the proposal to vote not to use herbicides. That decision still holds, according to Martha Craig, executive director of the Friends of Herring River.
In 2019, both Wellfleet and Eastham adopted policies that prohibit the use of glyphosate on town-owned properties.
But under the state’s Pesticide Control Act, the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) “retains the sole right to regulate the use of pesticides, including herbicides.” The law trumps any town policies or regulations on herbicide use.
The Eastham Select Board planned to send a letter to the state Pesticide Bureau earlier this week, expressing strong opposition to the use of chemical vegetation management. “MDAR, in continuing to support chemical vegetation control measures, shows a lack of concern for the special environment with the sole source aquifer on Cape Cod,” said the board in its letter.
“It is the Town’s position that spraying herbicides is unnecessary and irresponsible, given that there are so many other alternative vegetation management techniques,” said Town Administrator Jacqueline Beebe in an email. “We would be happy to partner with Eversource to assist them with developing and implementing a program of manual removal of invasive/overgrown plants for the health of our community and the preservation of our water supply.”
Once the comment period on this year’s vegetation management plan ends at 5 p.m. on April 9, MDAR will decide whether to approve it. Its approval year after year has frustrated Cape Cod residents. (Comments should be sent to Clayton Edwards, director of the Rights-of-Way Program at Mass. State Pesticide Bureau: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
MDAR should be listening to the communities, said Don Keeran, assistant director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. “It’s incumbent on MDAR to write some satisfactory legislation that is more responsive to regional concerns,” he said.
The Cape’s sandy soil allows compounds applied on the surface to quickly filter down to the groundwater. Residents, town officials, and state legislators have spent several years attempting to halt herbicide application in the region.
Susan Phelan of the environmental group GreenCAPE said she would like a better “on the ground” picture of where herbicides will be applied. “The Cape is spending so much money to clean up the water, it seems reckless and irresponsible to continue using herbicide when they can do it mechanically,” Phelan said.
Laura Kelley, the founder and president of Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer, is urging residents to submit comments. “It’s a chance to put in writing that we don’t want this,” Kelley said. “There is power in numbers. It’s the only thing that will change this. If 5,000 people wrote, it would have an impact.”
Kelley has organized teams of volunteers who prune along the right-of-way in order to eliminate the need for weed killers. She has also arranged for goats to chew back vegetation.
Kelley is urging abutters who own land in the rights-of-way but have easements on their deeds for utility work to contact Hayes to say they don’t want herbicides applied. They can offer to cut the brush back themselves, Kelley said.
According to Hayes, Eversource doesn’t want residents taking vegetation control into their own hands. “It’s our company’s responsibility,” he said. Well-meaning volunteers could be damaging valuable natural habitat, he said.
Supt. Brian Carlstrom said the Cape Cod National Seashore “doesn’t have an outright ban, but only uses chemicals as a last resort. We work very closely with Eversource. We do provide feedback to them to have the smallest footprint possible.”
Cape Cod’s legislative delegation has unsuccessfully filed bills during the past two sessions that would give communities more control over herbicide use on rights-of-way. State Rep. Dylan Fernandes of Woods Hole, with Rep. Sarah Peake of Provincetown as co-sponsor, filed a bill that would allow communities, by majority votes of town meetings and with the approval of local boards of health, to adopt ordinances and bylaws stricter than state law that restrict or prohibit the use, application, and disposal of pesticides within their borders.
State Sen. Julian Cyr of Truro and Sen. Susan Moran of Falmouth are working on a similar bill for the Senate.
Cyr has already filed a bill that would wrest some control over pesticide use from MDAR. Under its provisions, the commissioner of the Dept. of Food and Agriculture would have to “consult and concur” with the commissioners of environmental protection and public health regarding the protection of drinking water sources from pesticide contamination.
There may be some future restriction on where glyphosate can be used from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been required, under a court settlement with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, to analyze the effects of the federally registered uses of glyphosate on endangered species.
An EPA draft, released in November 2020, concluded that glyphosate may injure or kill 93 percent of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The draft also found that glyphosate could adversely affect 96 percent of critical habitat.
Nathan Donley, a senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity, said changing restrictions is a two-step process. The EPA will finalize its evaluation and review comments that have been submitted. The agency will then release a final report.
From there, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service will do an analysis, based on their expertise. “The numbers may come down a bit,” Donley said. “When Fish and Wildlife and Marine Fisheries find a species at risk, they will propose mitigations that could be geographical restrictions or buffers. The process takes about two years.”
Despite a series of lawsuits that ultimately led to a $10 billion settlement last year, the EPA once again approved registered uses of glyphosate in January 2020. “They gave interim approval, subject to additional mitigation,” Donley said. “Basically, it gave the green light with the possibility of reining in.”