Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Which I Respond to Commissioner Soares

Don't forget to mark your calendars and attend the Truro Ag Fair on Sunday, September 4, a fantastic Outer Cape event. Last year, at the Ag Fair, I met DAR Commissioner Scott Soares, above with Francie Randolph, one of the organizers. A letter I wrote recently on herbicidal spraying was forwarded to Commissioner Soares, rather than reviewed by Governor Patrick. I responded to the Commissioner's response.

Here's the letter I am sending out today:

Dear Commissioner Soares,

Thank you for your letter of August 3 in response to mine to Governor Patrick about NStar’s plan to spray herbicides on Cape Cod over our sole-source aquifer. I met you at the Truro Ag Fair. I was also one of the hundreds of Cape citizens who sent in last year, at your request, “one scientific fact” to explain why herbicides should not be sprayed under the power lines. Did you, at least, read these letters?

I know about the moratorium on herbicidal spraying.

I know about the Ad Hoc Committee meetings. I attended one or two of them. From your letter I deduce you have accepted its conclusions. How can you take this committee seriously as most attendees were pro-NStar before the discussions began? I know for a fact that the three herbicidal spraying opponents resigned when a vote was proposed, since voting was not part of the original deal. There were 20 attendees total. Therefore, I am shocked you put forward their conclusions as evidence herbicidal spraying should be part of NStar’s vegetation management plan. Is this what you truly believe?

As I told Governor Patrick’s aide Matthew over the phone yesterday, I regret to say the response from the Governor’s office to my letters is unacceptable. Herbicides are toxic chemicals. Emerging science indicates that traces, in our drinking water, can present serious problems for pregnant women. Traces of herbicides affect the developing fetus. Glyphosate has recently been linked to birth defects. Think faulty wiring rather than deformed babies. Endocrine disruptors do this. They create hormonal havoc that translates, in children, to chronic diseases like ADHD and perhaps even autism.

Glyphosate is only one of the four herbicides that will be used. No one has tested the combination for toxicity, nor the surfactants for that matter. Traces will filter down through the sandy soil of Cape Cod into our drinking water. Herbicides are endocrine disruptors. In July, John Kerry introduced a bill in Congress to reduce exposure to endocrine disruptive chemicals. I respectfully suggest the Governor’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs align its policies with this initiative from our senior senator. Please urge Governor Patrick to oppose NStar’s plan to spray four herbicides under the power lines of Cape Cod and save our drinking water from contamination.

Alexandra Grabbe