Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NSTAR extends herbicide moratorium on Cape Cod

For Immediate Release

For more information:
Caroline Allen: (617) 424-2460
Michael Durand: (508) 441-5831
Evening and weekends: (617) 541-7888

NSTAR Extends Herbicide Moratorium on Cape Cod

(BOSTON – March 2, 2011) NSTAR is extending its voluntary moratorium on herbicide use through 2011, demonstrating once again the company’s commitment to working cooperatively with the Cape Cod Commission and other local officials. This latest extension will allow sufficient time for the completion of a comprehensive study to quantify and ultimately reduce herbicide and pesticide use by all users on Cape Cod.

“NSTAR is unwavering in our commitment to provide safe, reliable electricity to our customers and we firmly believe our Integrated Vegetation Management Program is the best way to do that,” said Steve Sullivan, NSTAR’s Director of Planning, Scheduling and Contractor Services. “However, we also take very seriously our role as good corporate citizens and this moratorium extension further demonstrates our willingness to working toward a Cape-wide reduction of herbicide use.”

“NSTAR has been a strong working partner during the past year demonstrating a commitment to a full and informed community process aimed at protecting drinking water supplies on Cape Cod,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission. “The extension of the moratorium is a natural result of the County's ad-hoc committee review.”

In addition to improved mapping of private wells in 2010, progress has also been made in identifying the primary sources of herbicide and pesticide use on Cape Cod. Results to date confirm NSTAR’s IVM program represents a very small portion of the total Cape-wide herbicide use, though there’s more work to be done in documenting and sharing all of the facts. Therefore, NSTAR supports the commissioning of a comprehensive year-long study that further investigates the sources and effects of herbicide and pesticide use on the Cape and establishes guidelines toward its reduction. To lessen the appearance of undue influence on the study, NSTAR will not provide funding and will have only limited involvement in it.

With this latest extension of its voluntary herbicide moratorium comes the need for NSTAR to resume clear-cut mowing on Cape Cod rights-of-way in 2011. Federal regulations require utilities to demonstrate their compliance with strict standards set forth after the Northeast blackout of 2003. Though integrated vegetation management programs are recognized nationwide as the best practice for right-of-way maintenance to meet ecological and reliability standards, clear-cut mowing will be NSTAR’s only viable option on Cape Cod this year. Work is underway to finalize the company’s plans to resume mowing and details will be shared with the affected towns as soon as they are available.

NSTAR is the largest Massachusetts-based, investor-owned electric and gas utility. The company transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts, including more than one million electric customers in 81 communities and 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities. For more information, visit


1 comment:

  1. It will be important in the weeks and months ahead for people to be in contact with our local Board of Health and the Board of Selectman, Sandwich Representative to the County Assembly Jim Killion, Sandwich Representative to the Cape Cod Commission, Joanne OKeefe, the county Commissioners, the Cape Cod Commission staff designee on this issue, Rep. Hunt, and our senator, Senate President Murray. What goes into our ground and effects our water supply is the issue. Also at issue is consistent policy that protects our water supply and the citizens of Cape Cod.

    Regulation regarding chemicals is mandated through federal and state agencies and, as in many areas related to protecting our health, it is often behind contemporary science due to the lengthy practices of legislating change. But in this age of technology which adds light year speed to our communications, we are open to greater a possibility of effecting meaning full change in a more timely manner.

    I know, based on what we did at the local level in response the NSTAR situation, that many people are concerned, so don't hesitate to take action independently or along with the advocacy groups that exist on this subject. A new remedy needs to be found that takes into consideration our unique ground qualities, the health issues, and meaningful legislative change which reflects the continued improvement to our health concerns and our environment.


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