The Continuing Saga of the NSTAR Spraying

The continuing saga of the NSTAR spraying on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard (see earlier MBCC newsletters) involves NSTAR submitting yet another plan to spray the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard in the spring of 2014. Click here to see the NSTAR Yearly Operational Plan (YOP) for 2014. Please contact us if you are an abutter to NSTAR’s Rights-of-Way (aka ROWs).

NSTAR’s contractors are spraying the same herbicides in most towns in their service areas throughout New England. Call your town and ask to be notified when they receive NSTAR’s Yearly Operational Plan (YOP) and ask your town to pass a resolution objecting to the spraying-as all 15 towns did on the Cape. See our website for a resolution template and for more info on rights-of-way spraying and how to stop it.

Between Nov. 18 and Dec. 12 of 2013, NSTAR contractors surreptitiously sprayed 800 acres of Cape Cod without the knowledge or consent of the owners! As we have seen in the past months of NSTAR’s subcontractor spraying, they seem to think the label specifications, their own Yearly Operational Plan, and the Code of Mass Regulations are  merely “suggestions” rather than laws. This can’t be allowed to continue in 2014 as all 15 Cape towns have signed resolutions opposing the spraying and thousands or residents and tourists have complained along with local businesses, public health professionals, scientists. We have the support of the entire Cape legislative delegation in encouraging NSTAR to halt the spraying above our only drinking water supply.  We continue to demand NSTAR to immediately transition to non-chemical means of ROW vegetation management as other utilities have. STILL-they persist in their polluting practices. This is the time to hang tough and not back off!

You may recall that on December 4th, GreenCAPE and 26 other individuals filed an administrative appeal with NSTAR’s state regulator -MDAR- voicing our concerns with the process, violations of the regulations, lack of supervision and enforcement by the state regulator, and personal health concerns related to the use of herbicides on residential property. NSTAR has since filed a motion to become an intervener so they can actively be part of the hearings and their lawyer can question the appellants. MDAR has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal. The judge will rule on these motions in a few weeks.

On February 4, 2014, GreenCAPE, as a holder of NSTAR/NU stock, filed a shareholder proposal for consideration at the Annual Meeting of NSTAR/NU Shareholders in May. We encourage others to purchase stock and make their objections known at future annual meetings of NSTAR/NU.

The comment period for the 2014 HERBICIDE PLAN for CAPE COD ended on Feb. 18, 2014. GreenCAPE submitted a 12-page document of our objections to the plan and reiterated the spray violations committed in 2013 (at least the ones we were aware of…) It is certain that the state regulator of NSTAR -the MA Department of Agricultural Resources or MDAR will once again approve the plan. They always have. However they are supposed to oversee and supervise the implementation of the plan and they don’t so it’s a Wild West type of situation on the electrical easements and a potential exposure threat to abutters.  It is more important than ever that citizens be engaged in the process and state their objections to the NSTAR 2014 Yearly Operational Plan (YOP) to their town officials, state legislators, state officials, and the NSTAR company itself.

Given that successful vegetation control is possible without chemicals, why risk spraying an untested mixture of herbicides over 78% of zones of contribution to public water supply wells in an area of the state with a high rate of breast and prostate cancer? NSTAR’s insistence on chemical treatment of easements that interface residential and municipal properties overlaying an EPA-designated sole-source aquifer is irresponsible at best and demonstrates a callous disregard for the expressed desires of the community.



Please help this effort to protect the health and safety of our neighbors and yours by calling NSTAR’s CEO Tom May and asking him to halt the spraying. Call 781.441.8338 during business hours and ask to speak with CEO Tom May.

Click here to read more blog posts about the NSTAR campaign

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