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Organic Consumers Association

Outer Cape Residents Rail Against NSTAR Herbicide Plans

More than 100 Eastham and Wellfleet residents gathered Wednesday night to vent their outrage and frustration over NSTAR Electric Company's plans to treat 80 acres of vegetation under the power lines with a cocktail mixture of herbicides. Concerned about their drinking wells and the health of local fresh and saltwater systems, residents listened carefully to presentations from an arborist and chemist and waited for their chance to ask questions and voice their misgivings.

Political play

Despite valuable time spent responding to queries about the public comment period and protocol for notification, representatives from NSTAR and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) avoided alerting attendees to the fact that work was slated to begin Monday. Senator Robert O'Leary and State Representative Sarah Peake both responded to a question about legal recourse to prevent the work. With full knowledge of the order to begin work within two working days, NSTAR representatives watched as State Representative Cleon Turner, the self-described "only lawyer on the panel" passed underlined notes to Sarah Peake detailing how the town could, as a 'person' aggrieved, bring a suit against NSTAR, after exhausting all other administrative options for remediation. Senator Robert O'Leary offered the idea of bringing a "home-rule petition" to the legislature, but admitted he didn't see any way to stop the work.

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