Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Now that I have your attention, skip to Kristen Shantz's very serious letter at the end of this post for information on the effort to stop Nstar from spraying herbicides beneath the power lines.

How peaceful it was at Dyer Pond this afternoon! Sitting by the shore, I had a Joel-Meyerowitz moment. The above photo could be entitled "Stick Floating on the Surface of Dyer Pond." Who knows how long it had been there or how it got into the water? I saw the stick, snapped a photo, and the stick did add definite interest. Quiet, beautiful Dyer Pond, Wellfleet's most serene, according to the New York Times. When Sven said, "I want to go for a swim. Will you come with me?", I could not say no despite exhaustion after a quick trip up to Boston yesterday and return this morning. I had just read an email from Jared, and another from Kristen, both activists in the struggle to stop Nstar from herbicidal spraying beneath the power lines, and the issue was very much on my mind as we surveyed the vegetation along the National Seashore boundary. Our town administrator met with the Nstar rep yesterday. Briefly, David Polson of Nstar said he did not "hear any compelling reason to cease spraying" regarding Wellfleet's request for a moratorium for 2009. That does not sound like good news. Do we have a lawyer in the house? If Eastham has obtained a delay, should not the same rules apply to Wellfleet? Bruce, are you out there in Cyberspace? Spraying toxic chemicals that will go into ground water, the water we drink, seems almost criminal to me, and certainly A VERY BAD IDEA. Has everyone sent an email to (our health agent) Hillary AT townofwellfleet.org to protest the spraying? If not, please do so. For a summary, go here. Even non-residents can protest if they are summer visitors who feel strongly about this issue. Jared is calling for bodies, holding clippers, to attend a Prune-In on Thursday, 10 am, at the border between Wellfleet and Eastham. (Turn onto Gill Road near the Drive-in and proceed to the power lines.) My day is already quite full, but I will try to attend...

Here is the message from Kristen: Greetings!

On Tuesday Susan Johnson and I attended a meeting in Wellfleet with NSTAR, Paul Sieloff (town admin.), Michael May, Andrew Petty (Health/Conservation), Dale Donovan, and a representative from the water commission. NSTAR’s representatives were: Chris Fallon, Jeffrey Luce and David Polson (manager of vegetation).

In response to Mr. Sieloff’s queries as to whether Wellfleet could expect a reprieve from spraying, Mr. Polson remarked a number of times that he did not hear any compelling reasons to grant Wellfleet the same decision as was made for Eastham.

Mr. Polson made it quite clear that if NSTAR was the only entity being asked (or “picked on”) to cease its use of herbicides then there would be no further discussion. Twice Mr. Polson was informed that Wellfleet was exploring a town ban.

The question of self-maintenance along the power lines was raised. Mr. Polson stated that NSTAR no longer enters into formal contracts with property owners, but allows informal arrangements only.

When asked if maintaining tree growth height (8ft) was sufficient to keep NSTAR off property, the eventual answer was "no it does not." NSTAR reserves the right to apply herbicides to eradicate root systems and/or tree growth it determines is not properly maintained. NSTAR will provide the town with a list of the species that need to be maintained and will, upon request, send out a vegetation manager to assess private property.

Mr. Sieloff offered to send minutes of last week’s selectmen’s meeting to prove Wellfleet’s intention to develop a town bylaw to ban the use of herbacides. Mr. Polson repeated his belief that he had not heard a compelling reason to stop plans for spraying in Wellfleet this fall. He will review the material from the selectmen’s meeting and make a decision by the end of this week.

It is not clear how Mr. Sieloff plans to proceed. From articles in the press and conversations with individuals in other towns it is clear that many share the same concerns about the use of herbicides. I am not sure why our towns are not joining together as a single voice in dealing with NSTAR, etc. Rep. Sarah Peake has suggested that a group effort would be a more affective approach.

Can you get a letter out today? It is important that we keep up the pressure. Our efforts have brought people to the table; however it seems the folks at NSTAR need to be convinced of our concerns and our convictions.

Please fax or email a letter to NSTAR today. The letter can be simple and to the point. At this time letters will carry a greater impact than telephone calls. ‘CC’ copies of your letter to our state and federal representatives and town admin as well.

Contact information is noted below. Thank you. Kristen Shantz

NSTAR: Jeffrey P. Luce, Community Relations & Economic Development Specialist, fax: 508-957-4603; One NSTAR Way, Cape Westwood, MA 02090; Jeffrey.luce@nstar.com.

Scott.Soares@state.ma.us (Mr. Soares is the Commissioner of Agriculture).