Sandwich health board backs herbicide limits
SANDWICH — The town’s board of health recommended Monday night that Sandwich join other Cape towns asking NStar [NST] not to use herbicides to clear its power line rights of way.
The board of selectmen are expected to tackle the question Thursday, said Selectman Linell Grundman, vice chairwoman of the board, who attended last night’s meeting.
So far, 11 Cape towns have supported the nonbinding resolution asking NStar not to use herbicides, said Sue Phelan, with the group GREENCape, which opposes the pesticide use.
Board of health member Sean Grady said Monday night that companies should have to prove the products they use are safe. Grady and board member Sandra Lee Tompkins voted to recommend that selectmen sign on to the GREENCape resolution. Board member Rebecca Lovell Scott was absent.
In an agreement with the Cape Cod Commission last April, NStar agreed to postpone the use of herbicides on the Cape until this year. The delay in spraying was sought to give towns time to perfect maps used by the utility company to identify environmentally sensitive areas.
Herbicides have been used in the past to encourage low-growing native plants by killing off fast-growing species such as Russian olive, locust, poplar and white and red oak, according to Times archives.
State regulations control NStar’s ability to use herbicides on rights of way, said Grundman.
At Monday’s meeting, about a dozen people showed up to voice their opposition to using herbicides.
Sandwich resident Diane Suhm-Bigorre said the combination of chemicals used in the herbicides hasn’t been properly tested for its health and environmental impacts, especially in the sandy Cape soil.
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