Cape Cod Times, Sunday 9/13/15

Cape citizens group targets herbicide spraying
 
A small citizens group plans this week to pursue a legal stop to Eversource electric and gas company spraying herbicides on Cape Cod rights of way.

Harwich Conservation Trust volunteers Sarah Wormer, of North Harwich, and Jayne Phelps, of West Harwich, prune overgrowth in 2014 in an effort to prevent the company now known as Eversource from spraying herbicides on the power line's right of way near the public water supply. Cape Cod Times file

Harwich Conservation Trust volunteers Sarah Wormer, of North Harwich, and Jayne Phelps, of West Harwich, prune overgrowth in 2014 in an effort to prevent the company now known as Eversource from spraying herbicides on the power line’s right of way near the public water supply. Cape Cod Times file


By Mary Ann Bragg
mbragg@capecodonline.com

NORTH EASTHAM — A small citizens group plans this week to pursue a legal stop to Eversource electric and gas company spraying herbicides on Cape rights of way.
     The nonprofit Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer intends to file a claim Monday in Orleans District Court that would lead to the pursuit of an injunction to stop the spraying, POCCA President Laura Kelley said. The group is using a lawyer working pro bono and will enlist the help of right-of-way abutters in several towns to testify against the spraying, Kelley said.
     Fundraising is underway to raise the $800 that is needed for court-related fees and expenses, she said. The nonprofit group, formed in 2013, had about $50 in its coffers until a month ago, Kelley said.
     “Basically, it’s not going to stop (Eversource),” Kelley said of an injunction. “It will slow it down for a short period of time. It’s a step in the direction of allowing more time to educate the governor in what’s happening down here.”
     In response, an Eversource representative on Saturday said the company is using a state-approved vegetation management program to ensure that customers have reliable electric service and to promote a natural, self-sustaining environment on the rights of way.
     “Because programs such as ours are considered best practice, they’re widely used locally and nationally to control unwanted and incompatible vegetation,” Eversource spokeswoman Rhiannon D’Angelo wrote in an email.

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