Friday, February 19, 2010

My Letter on Herbicides Published by the Banner

Yesterday Sven and I admired nature at Ballston Beach in Truro, breathing in the crystal-clear air. The wild beauty of beaches like this one is one of the main reasons we choose to live here. What a special place the Outer Cape is!

On the way home, we picked up a copy of the Provincetown Banner, which published my latest letter to the editor:

“NStar intends to spray five herbicides under the power lines on Cape Cod to control vegetation. Federal law mandates this control but does not state anyone should use herbicides. These chemicals will filter down through our sandy soil into the single source aquifer. Traces will end up in our drinking water.

Over 2000 people signed a petition, circulated by Green Cape last summer, in opposition to herbicidal spraying under the power lines. NStar agreed to postpone spraying until June after concern, expressed by citizens in Eastham, spurred their Board of Selectmen to action. Now towns across Cape Cod have received a letter from NStar confirming their intention that “foliage treatments” take place from June 7 to October 16.

We already have high breast cancer rates in Barnstable County. Silent Spring Institute has found traces of DDT, sprayed over 30 years ago, in Cape Cod dust.

In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency will begin review and regulation of 140 synthetic chemicals introduced into our environment over the past forty years.

Perhaps we should take a closer look at why so many people develop cancer in the first place, why fertility rates are in a tailspin, what has changed that may account for the dramatic increase in autism?

I believe we must control the toxic chemicals that we pour into our environment.

What can individuals do? Begin with local action. Visit the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition web site for information on how to contact NStar. Call your State Representative or Congressman. Write your favorite Selectman or Board of Health member to ask whether your town opposes the spraying of herbicides under power lines.

The fragile equilibrium of nature is at risk. It’s time for regular citizens like you and me to step up to the plate. Together we can make a difference.”