Environmental Awareness

Letter from Littlefield Landscapes to the Director of Rights-of-Way Programs, Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau, MDAR

Laura Kelley is not just the Director of POCCA, but also a successful owner of an organic landscaping business, Littlefield Landscapes. Here is the letter Laura wrote from her experienced and knowledgeable perspective as a landscaper.

Hello Michael ~

I thank the MDAR for their consideration to prevent NSTAR from all herbicidal applications throughout Barnstable County this year and beyond.  Inertia will occur, there are reactions for our actions and living in a unique environment above our Aquifer is a privilege not to be under estimated.  

Being a land care provider on Cape Cod for 21 years, I have been specializing in Organic ways to feed and maintain vegetation successfully that is cost effective over time.  Working with nature is easier and more sustainable in the long run. This email is based on my knowledge from 21 years of experience landscaping throughout Cape Cod.

Why is MDAR allowing a mixture of herbicides to be used for vegetation maintenance along the back bone of Cape Cod when there is no testing to prove it is safe or otherwise?  The state of Massachusetts does not have test results from any combination of herbicides NSTAR plans to use this Fall.  That is not safe when we drink water from below us.  Modern Science proves over and over that combining herbicides increases the active ingredients to an unsafe level.  There are many documented facts about this.  Please do your own research before allowing NSTAR to treat Cape Cod the same way as the rest of the state of Massachusetts. 

Why is the MDAR relying on data from testing of these herbicides that is over 20 years old?  I’d like to share with you a Science Lab in France that has been testing Glyphosate for more than 2 years.  They prove Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in RoundUp, to be more harmful than we realized:  www.gmoseralini.org  
Seralini has proven that Glyphosate when mixed with another chemical doesn’t only kill the targeted plant cells but also animal and human cells as well.

Glyphosate , an ingredient in RoundUp, causes deficiencies in our bodily systems first by harming gut bacteria. Glyphosate is one of the chemical herbicides NSTAR plans on spraying on Cape Cod, not only that, but they are combining Glyphosate with other toxic herbicides, and it has been shown that any combination increases the strength of the poison overall.  Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. Health safety is the issue we are talking about. If we become exposed to Glyphosate even at low doses, it creates disease that starts with our gut flora becoming compromised and our health ultimately damaged. Glyphosate slowly acts to undermine immunity and introduces lasting toxic effects, and because the effects are not immediately obvious, we may tend to believe that there is no harm in using it, which is exactly the idea NSTAR is pushing for their own reasons. The well-documented increase in modern disease is largely due to use of chemicals on our land that get into our food and water. If we allow a utility company, whose sole reasoning and research relies on historically failed promises from out dated studies funded and cited by the herbicide manufacturers themselves concerning the toxicity of their chemicals, we are not seeing the full picture available from new research nor are we understanding the impact of these chemicals and residues over time. 

There are distance regulations from water wells and reservoirs.  Such as, 50 feet from water wells NSTAR will not be spraying herbicides.  Now that is 50 feet across, why not 50 feet down as well?  Gravity will happen and with the sandy soil throughout Cape Cod, we don’t have a natural filter before said chemicals enter into our drinking water supply.  We all consume from the same table of water.  Don’t allow NSTAR to add more to the mix.  

It is a time for reduction and education will be the key to that success.  Ask NSTAR to refrain from this chemical method to maintain vegetation throughout Cape Cod and allow Cape Codders time to educate locals they too are impacting the drinking water.

MDAR can have NSTAR seek alternative solutions, like how Canada handles the same situation with Radiant Heat Weeding:  
They selectively aim at only the targeted plant, just as NSTAR states they will be doing but with a chemical combination instead.  Once you spray heat on the unwanted plant it turns it into ash which becomes food for microorganisms not chemicals that could potentially become harmful to our environment.  All waste in nature becomes food.  We can shift this situation to have a beneficial outcome and be cost effective at the same time.

There is much confusion going on when NSTAR gives a presentation.  I rely on the written words in their VMP and YOP plans personally but when we are in a meeting, such as recently with Falmouth BOS, NSTAR down-played situations to a place that was untrue.  They stated verbally they will only be spraying the top part of the foliage on the plant that herbicides won’t be getting to the soil.  This is untrue.  Of course spraying a plant the chemical needs to get to the root system or it won’t successfully die which defeats the purpose, correct?  It is unfair that NSTAR has been stretching the truth to a place where unknowing people believe them.  I have it all on video, feel free to ask for it if necessary.  It is about being fair and telling the truth to accomplish your task.  NSTAR must be more transparent with their explanation of plans on our land.  I believe an open forum is needed to truthfully show their methods is necessary if MDAR does allow NSTAR to use herbicides, and all questions must be answered to satisfy the community before allowing this on our land.

Michael, you’ve got a community against this method, what are you going to do about it?   The PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE is necessary this time.  Considering we don’t know the adverse effects of these herbicides when mixed together, considering the State of Massachusetts is relying on out-dated data, considering there are other ways to maintain vegetation over growth, why wouldn’t you simply say to NSTAR, seek another solution instead of having a whole community against you?

Thank you for reading and understanding all comments sent directly to you.  This truly matters to all who live and visit Cape Cod.  What would happen if our water became contaminated and vacationers didn’t visit – that would kill our economy.  The ball is in your court now, do the right thing for the future of us all.  NSTAR just clear-cut from Orleans to the bridges so there is no need to spray right now, we have time before over growth becomes harmful to our electric lines.  Allow time to educate and seek alternatives.  From a landscapers point of view, there is a way to create a sustainable system growing native vegetation along rights of ways that will only reach 3 feet in height, like low bush blueberries, then creatures will thrive there happily without chemical use to do so.

Good luck in your decision process.  I realize NSTAR has a job to accomplish, Cape Codders just don’t want it completed with herbicides.  Thank you very much.

Laura Kelley, Owner
Littlefield Landscapes


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