Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor Published by Cape Cod Times

Once upon a time Wellfleet had its own newspaper. The Advocate was bought by the Provincetown Banner a dozen years ago ... unfortunately. It's good for a small town to have its own newspaper. There are three local newspapers now that get read by the Wellfleet population on a regular basis: the Banner, the Cape Codder, and the Cape Cod Times.

The second pruning party last week was covered by the Cape Cod Times. The reporter is a good guy but did not really explain, in my opinion, why folks had taken time off from work to stage what was, in fact, a type of protest. Yes, we wanted to show pruning works, that toxic chemicals should not be used simply because they are the cheaper option. But the whole point was water, pure drinking water, water that is not contaminated, water that natives and tourists alike can drink without a second thought. We do not want our water polluted by the utility company with its mixture of five herbicides. We believe this mixture is dangerous to human health, that traces will filter down into our sole-source aquifer and enter drinking water. So, I sent a letter to the editor, which was published on Monday. In case you missed it, here's what I wrote:

"I feel your Sept. 23 article "No beating around the bush," missed the point. We were out there pruning in the hot sun to demonstrate how much we care about Wellfleet’s drinking water.

Your article states, 'N. hopes the herbicide program will eliminate the need for clear-cutting vegetation along the power lines, a method that can be disruptive to wildlife and problematic to landowners along the right of way.' Disruptive to wildlife? How about a few words about how disruptive these five herbicides can be to human life? Their combined effect is unknown. Pregnant women and small children are especially vulnerable.

On the Outer Cape, water comes from private wells, fed by a sole-source aquifer. That means, when someone uses Round-Up (ie. glyphosate), to kill a weed on Briar Lane, traces can end up in drinking water on School Street.

The President’s Cancer Panel suggests filtering water to avoid environmental contaminants. From its annual report, 'Our science looks at a substance-by-substance exposure and doesn’t take into account the multitude of exposures we experience in daily life. If we did, it might change our risk paradigm. The potential risks associated with extremely low-level exposure may be underestimated or missed entirely.'"