Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I HEART Eastham Selectmen

Anyone pulling up this blog for a report of the Wellfleet Community Forum discussion on wind turbines is going to be disappointed, and I apologize. Impossible to be two places the same evening. Paul Sieloff did it, but then our town administrator left the Eastham meeting in the middle, right before the NStar officials mentioned having already sprayed parts of Wellfleet and Orleans, since the year 2000. Yes, that’s what NStar told Eastham. I was not aware of this fact and will have to confirm tomorrow. I must say I was quite impressed by the three women and two men who make up the Eastham Select Board, the same civic-minded folks who brought the issue of herbicidal spraying to their constituents last June, ahead of any other town on the Cape. What else can I tell you about the meeting? After a short update by a hopeful Sarah Peake, five NStar reps – three from community relations and two arborists – lumbered in and heard an optimistic Paul Niedzwicki, above, summarize a morning meeting between NStar and members of the Cape Cod Commission, including the proposal for a one-year moratorium in order to map wells and study sensitive watersheds across our region. NStar’s presentation and discussion with the Select board was followed by a half hour Q&A with several dozen concerned citizens. Here are a few of the noteworthy statements made during the meeting:

“Progress doesn’t always move in a linear pattern, but I think we’re close.”

“We use state-approved chemicals, used elsewhere than the Cape, that have proved effective.”

“Testing was done in a different ground type, a clay-based soil. Our sandy soil is different.”

“Self maintenance? We don’t want to turn that over to the property owners. It’s a question of who is responsible. We are.”

“These herbicides are scary. You have to alleviate that concern if you’re going to use herbicides.”

“We are not committing to a one-year postponement.”

“This time I want to see any agreement with the Cape Cod Commission in writing.”

“Eastham is different as we have no town water.”

“We’re not out to pollute your water supply.”

“The information on the chemicals is old. There’s recent compelling research that tells a different story.”

"If you ban herbicides for NStar, you need to do it for all herbicides."

“My partner had liver damage from chemicals. They’re poison. Please do not use them if you have a choice not to.”

“This stuff causes cancer. When are we going to learn?”

“DDT and Agent Orange were approved chemicals.”

“We’re not going to debate these tactics.”

Not hard to figure out which side said what, eh? Two Selectmen had the final word:

“The State doesn’t mandate the use of chemicals. I’m a carpenter. Just because a tool is there, you don’t have to use it.”

“The State and the EPA aren’t always right. The answer to our concerns isn’t that the State says it’s okay.”

For a full report, see Doug Fraser’s Cape Cod Times article.