NSTAR Chemical Herbicide Plan for Cape Cod – Action Request from GreenCAPE

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Request for Action from Sue Phelan of GreenCAPE


Hello Friends of MBCC,

In recent years you may have become aware of the plan by the electric utility NSTAR to spray a chemical cocktail of herbicides over their Cape Cod easements including private and public property, backyards, gardens, play sets, in the zones of contribution to public water supply wells—–all of this over the only source of our precious drinking water supply. There is nothing between NSTAR’s herbicides and the sole-source aquifer but quickly percolating beach sand. GreenCAPE managed (with help from MBCC) to keep that wolf from the door for 4 years but recently NSTAR announced they will resume their poison plan this fall. The primary tools in their tool kit are several herbicides which have not been thoroughly tested for all their health or environmental effects. A few are suspected endocrine disruptors. This when Cape Cod has the highest breast cancer rate in the state. There is broad and deep opposition within the Cape community to NSTAR’s proposed actions.

There are safe alternatives and NSTAR and other utilities have used them for decades. We are determined to convince them to reconsider this ill-conceived program but there is a very short time frame to accomplish this. Public comment ends November 1st, 2013. Your letters, calls, and actions will have a significant impact on the outcome. If the MDAR Commissioner doesn’t hear from you, what are the chances he will disapprove NSTAR’s plan? Others will also need to be pressured to do the right thing. The Cape community needs your help—and soon.

ACTION: Request the MDAR Commissioner disapprove the NSTAR plan for Cape Cod and initiate the use of alternative means of vegetation control. If you need more info, please check out the NSTAR pages of our website for info only. Current contact info is provided below. http://www.greencape.org/nstar_actions.html.


1)Director of Rights-of-Way Program Mike McLean: Michael.mcclean@state.ma.us

And most importantly:

2)Commissioner Greg Watson/MDAR: Greg.Watson@state.ma.us

251 Causeway St, Suite 500 Boston, MA 02114
Be sure to get a tracking receipt; AND cc- your State Reps and Senators if you live on Cape Cod

  • Complain to NSTAR Investor Relations even if you don’t own stock- https://www.nu.com/forms/formInvestors.asp;
  • Please Like us on Face book and follow updates on the NSTAR folly. Massive push back from residents and visitors of Cape Cod is required!
  • Would YOU attend a rally on Cape Cod? This is only feasible if loads of you respond ASAP.

Many thanks to MBCC and special thanks to Executive Director Cheryl Osimo for her help in distributing this time-sensitive request. Please act now! No one else will do this for us.

For Clean Water-


Sue Phelan, GreenCAPE

P.O. Box 631

West Barnstable, MA 02668

508.362.5927; 508.494.0276


History of the NSTAR Campaign…

Just a few years ago many residents and tourists on Cape Cod sent reams of letters and requests to then –Commissioner Scott Soares requesting that he disapprove the NSTAR herbicide plan for Cape Cod. We obtained a private meeting with Comm. Soares which was not at all productive. Following that, in private meetings we had with an NSTAR VP and community liaison, they ALWAYS refused to discuss health concerns known to be associated with the use of these herbicides. Absolutely refused. Every time. After that we realized we had no choice but to rally the residents of Cape Cod to oppose the continued use of herbicides over our water supply by a utility only concerned with their bottom line. Here we go again.

GreenCAPE organized several public rallies opposing the herbicide spraying where doctors and members of the Cape legislative delegation supported our no-herbicide policy for Cape Cod. Hundreds upon hundreds of people wrote of their objections to the MDAR Commissioner and asked him not to approve the NSTAR plan. Thousands signed our petitions (and continue to sign the online version at www.GreenCAPE.org.). We conducted a demonstration “goat walk” for NSTAR reps (who did not attend), CC Commission staff, Barnstable County Commissioners, and members of the Cape delegation-all of whom were impressed by these voracious brush-cutting ruminants. Hundreds joined our call-in day to the NSTAR CEO Tom May until NSTAR closed down the phone lines. More than a hundred Cape Cod businesses signed our petition opposing the NSTAR spraying and put signs in their windows to show support. Over a hundred physicians and academics sent a letter to the NSTAR CEO opposing the spraying. Finally—every single town on Cape Cod —all 15 of them– passed our resolution opposing NSTAR’s poison plan. What about “NO” don’t they understand?

As a result of these actions NSTAR extended their moratorium on the spraying a few more years but we continued working on this effort as we knew there was no permanent moratorium. Related to this effort, GreenCAPE has been working for the last 3 years providing municipalities and homeowners with free trainings on organic land care and a pesticide-free policy for towns to adopt because we knew that NSTAR had used the argument that “others” were using more herbicide than they were. This is likely true but NSTAR is still one of the largest single users of herbicides on the Cape and they have been known to spray in prohibited areas and work without maps since, until quite recently, there weren’t even complete maps for some areas of the Cape. The first moratorium was agreed to for this reason but it had not stopped NSTAR from spraying prior to that. I offer this history to demonstrate the real possibilities of stopping NSTAR once again.