Will you join the mission to help protect natural resources
on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard?
There are safer alternatives Eversource can use,
the best solution is selective pruning instead of herbicide use.
It is up to us to protect our drinking water we rely upon daily,
we are the stewards here and it is our turn to care for our precious land
and the natural resources upon it!
~ This is a mission that will take our caring community reaching out to make a difference ~
There are clear reasons why we don't want herbicides used by Eversource along power lines:
~ Cape Cod has unique Hydrology thus Toxicology is a major concern ~
1.) Our Aquifer is less than 50 feet below surface level throughout most of Cape Cod:
2.) We have sand as soil so anything we add to our land permeates a foot a day on average, even more when it rains. See #7 and #9 for examples of Emerging Contaminants.
3.) There are other ways to maintain vegetation over growth that is less harmful yet the state, MDAR, believes the EPA would not allow herbicides if they were harmful. We are not stating it is illegal to use herbicides, we are stating we don't want herbicides used on our land.
The best case would be to create a sustainable corridor along ROW by removing unwanted vegetation that is a threat to our power source and installing native ground cover plants that grow less than 10 feet in height. Adding wanted plant communities is the actual action of giving back to the land to encourage the desired effect. The new plantings need to work by enhancing the native plant communities already established and have some aftercare strategy that ensures new plantings get established and are happy.
The next major thought to remember is when removing, only remove the unwanted vegetation, leaving what naturally grows that is less than 10 feet, there are two ways to go about this:
A - Hand pruning - cut down by hand with pruners and loppers what may harm electric wires in time. This is the best way to maintain vegetation because it is thorough. As current applicators spray one plant at at time, it is possible to cut each plant instead.
B - “Weed heaters” - this type of hand held propane tool will heat plants down to the ground. The advantage of this method is that plant ash becomes food for remaining vegetation.
It is an easy, cost effective solution one plant at a time. In nature selective burning rejuvenates areas becoming beneficial nutrition to the area. Google weed heaters to learn more.
The ways below will take down all vegetation (what we don't want)
but are still less harmful than herbicides over time:
A - Mowing - this is the way ROW power lines were maintained prior to herbicide use, once every 7 years. Granted it is messy, disturbing to animals, cuts back more than necessary, it still won't harm natural resources here. Mow in the Fall not Spring time is another suggestion for less harm to animals.
B - Goats - are a great way to maintain vegetation and they will eat poison ivy too. There is a goat farm in Barnstable with 20 goats who need to be fed, the owners are aware of ROW corridors and are willing to help if allowed. The only drawback is they will eat everything, good vegetation as well but they don’t need gasoline and they leave fertilizer as an added bonus!
We recommend ONE solution that is best for Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard’s 21 towns ~
that will simplify things. We also believe towns should be able to maintain their own ROW if they choose to and Eversource can oversee their work just as they do currently with their hired landscapers. If it becomes about money then Eversource needs to prove what it costs them currently per town. A few years ago town officials in Mashpee requested they will be glad to maintain their own ROW at their own cost and Eversource said no.
4.) The Cape Cod Assembly of Delegates wrote a resolution against Eversource's plan to use herbicides in March 2016, and it still holds true to date. The state, MDAR, should listen to towns before allowing herbicides on their land this way again but they are not, the state is relying on the safety of the EPA, now that that agency is unraveling in front of our eyes, how safe does that make you feel? It's not good enough for me.
The Assembly of Delegates of Cape Cod approved a resolution in Spring 2016 supporting the call by every Cape town to stop the use of herbicides on ROW’s.
5.) Along Rights-of-Way corridors there are plant species and box turtles that live there. Selective pruning is the best form of vegetation management and least harmful to all.
6). GLYPHOSATE, the active ingredient in RoundUp is even more toxic when mixed with another herbicide:
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp herbicide, is a biocide that interferes with cellular metabolism, and a toxin. It is one of the five herbicides Eversource uses on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Its use would otherwise not need be restricted by precautions and regulations. Its toxicity is of concern around the world, and it has been banned in many jurisdictions, including the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Russia, Malta, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Argentina and Columbia. Brazil is moving toward a ban. By a split vote this month, November 2017, Europe did not enact a ban on glyphosate, but the decision was very controversial (and may lead to the fall of the governing coalition in Germany.) The US State Department aggressively promotes its use worldwide.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IHRC) recognizes glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, potentially causing types of cancer especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, and others in lab animals. It is recognized as a probable cause of acute renal failure, which is epidemic in a number of tropical-latitude agricultural societies. The state of California lists glyphosate as a cancer-causing agent on labels of the product.
7.) Emerging Contaminants:
For many years, fire-suppressing foams containing Perfluroalkylated compounds were used at the Barnstable Airport and Fire Training Academy. These were federally approved chemicals, used in many other applications. More recent investigations have revealed previously unknown and significant health risks attributed to exposure to these compounds. In response, the EPA set new permissible limits for drinking water. Well fields down-gradient from the airport and FTA were found to have higher-than-permitted concentrations of several of these compounds. An expensive remediation effort, with pumping and filtering of the water, is underway, and will last for years. Barnstable County will be liable for at least 3-4 million dollars of this cleanup.
Given the known current scientific concerns about the herbicides used on the rights-of-way, prudence would dictate that their use be curtailed now. The extent of contamination of our aquifer would make cleanup efforts unaffordable for every Town and the County.
8.) The label is the law: See links listed showing the labels for each herbicide. Read the environmental hazards. Does this make you feel comfortable as a town leader allowing it in your town when there are alternative ways to maintain vegetation overgrowth along ROW’s? In Eversource’s VMP, it states they have a goal of “reducing the risk of unreasonable adverse effects to the health and well being of humans, animals and the environment.” Using herbicides contradicts this statement. Here is the label of each one of the herbicides used: Glyphosate, Ammonium Fosamine, Triclopyr, Metsulfuron Methyl, Imazapyr. Google the labels of each of these and please read Environmental Hazards.
9.) Toxic plume in Eastham: It was discovered in 2012 that the Eastham dump had percolated enough toxins through sandy soils to contaminate wells, forcing the town to pay for bottled water for the neighborhoods affected. Whether water is drawn from private or public wells, it comes from the same source.