News Updates

Selectmen postpone acting on Eversource
By Doreen Leggett
The Cape Codder
Nov. 9, 2015

So, Selectman David Dunford asked Town Counsel Michael Ford, can the town write a letter in support of an advocacy group’s suit to stop Eversource’s use of herbicides and also join the legal action?
     “If you were going to consider that, than I am not sure the letter of support campaign is the way to go,” Ford said Wednesday.
     The board didn’t send a letter.
     Although Orleans selectmen didn’t say suing the utility to try and prevent spraying along right of ways was imminent, they didn’t say it was off the table either.
     The board voted to schedule a discussion in executive session to talk about the pros and cons of joining the suit organized by Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer, POCCA, or filing a separate one. Brewster selectmen this week, also discussed joining the lawsuit (see Page A14).
     Selectmen also agreed to ask Town Administrator John Kelly to start a dialogue with Eversource on how the vegetation below the power lines should be managed. Selectman Chairman Alan McClennen said that 37 percent of Eversource’s right of ways go through protected watersheds in town.
     “To me that is significant,” he said.
     Although utilities, most recently Eversource, have been using herbicides along rights of ways to protect power lines for years, Orleans and other communities on the Cape have fought against the practice…..

To read the full article, click HERE.

Orleans poised to strike back against Eversource
By Doreen Leggett
The Cape Codder
Nov. 1, 2015

Orleans Water Superintendent Todd Bunzick talks about the work town did near well six to avoid spraying of herbicides. Staff photo by David Colantuono, The Cape Codder

Orleans Water Superintendent Todd Bunzick talks about the work town did near well six to avoid spraying of herbicides. Staff photo by David Colantuono, The Cape Codder

ORLEANS — Todd Bunzick drove slowly along the dirt path that ran alongside the tall power lines that marched along beside him into Brewster. Although the scrub oaks and knotty pines that were a stone’s throw from the pick up truck reached far overhead and grew close together the vegetation along the right of way was low and made up of shrubs and bushes that were changing colors in the quiet of fall.
      Suddenly Bunzick, the superintendent of the town’s water department, slowed down.
“See this locust,” he said gesturing to a short, skinny black sapling that would have gone unnoticed on the mile long sandy track near well number six. “We have to cut this down. Anything that is fast growing.”
      After getting in under the wire and sidestepping Eversource’s use of herbicides on town land a few years ago, Orleans officials are now contemplating lending an official voice to a so far unsuccessful suit to get a restraining order against the utility, which has 3.6 million customers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
“The spraying needs to be stopped,” Selectman David Dunford said earlier this month. “I have been saying (that) for five or six years.
What can we do?”

To read the full article, click HERE.


Herbicide Foes Win Small Victory
By Rich Eldred
The Cape Codder
Oct. 9, 2015

BARNSTABLE — Opponents of herbicide application beneath Cape Cod’s power lines had their day in court last week and got a sliver of what they sought.
      Three abutters –Catherine Richardson, Sandra Johnson and David Greene — filed suit to halt Eversource’s Vegetation Mananagement Program and they program was halted with a preliminary injunction handed down by Judge Robert Ruffo in Barnstable Superior Court on Wednesday, but only their properties, not Cape wide as they’d hoped.
      ”That’s it, because Eversource was doing everything right (under the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources direction) but we never said they weren’t,” sighed Laura Kelley of Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer, an organization backing the plaintiff trio. “I’m disappointed but we plug on. We’re just beginning. Tonight (Wednesday) we go to Orleans and ask the town to get involved and that will give us more standing.”

To read the full article, click HERE.


Judge denies temporary halt to power line spraying
By Christine Legere
Cape Cod Times
Oct. 7, 2015

BARNSTABLE — A Barnstable Superior Court judge has denied a request for a preliminary injunction to stop Eversource from spraying herbicides under some power lines, saying the three property owners who requested the halt had not convinced him of the need for the order.
      ”The plaintiffs claim that they risk irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction because the presence of these herbicides on or near their property and in the groundwater results in physical injury, medical expenses, emotional suffering, environmental cleanup costs, property diminution, decreased use and enjoyment of property, and increased difficulty in sale of property,” Judge Robert Rufo wrote in Tuesday’s ruling. “However, at this time, the court has received no medical documentation of the claimed health risks to the plaintiffs.”

To read the full article, click HERE.


Outer Cape herbicide foes granted a hearing
in bid to halt spraying

By Edward Miller
Banner Staff
Oct. 2, 2015

Herbicide spraying along Eversource Energy’s power lines in Wellfleet and Truro “has not begun yet,” company spokesman Mike Durand said on Tuesday, “but we expect to complete the spraying work within the next two weeks, weather permitting.” He did not mention the possibility that a court order could shut down the spraying operations.
      Durand admitted that the spraying schedule was likely to be delayed because of rain in the forecast over the next week. Eversource’s subcontractors, Vegetation Control Service, Lewis Tree Service, and Lucas Tree, are instructed not to apply the herbicides when it is raining.
      Meanwhile, the Eastham-based environmental group Preserve Our Cape Cod Aquifer (POCCA) and its attorney, Bruce Taub of Orleans, filed a complaint against Eversource in Barnstable Superior Court last Wednesday and were granted a hearing that will take place today, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. POCCA seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent the company from proceeding with its spraying program.

To read the full article, click HERE.


People vs. Eversource Moves Forward(2)
by Alexandra Grabbe
Wellfleet Today


Yesterday’s hearing in Barnstable Court left me perplexed.

While Eversource, formerly known as NStar, agreed to not spray the property of the abutters presenting their case, their drinking water will still be polluted by toxic chemicals if the utility sprays their neighbors’ yards. Yet there was something brilliant that happened yesterday, thanks to POCCA’s lawyer Bruce Taub: “..the state Department of Agricultural Resources, the agency which approved the utility’s herbicide application program, is violating state law, which prohibits herbicide spraying within 100 feet of a public water supply. The sole source aquifer that provides drinking water to the Cape is less than 100 feet from the surface.” Duh! Well, yes. Our aquifer! It is under our feet, less than 100 feet away.

If you are an abutter to the power lines and have not made your voice heard, contact Laura Kelley at POCCA. Everyone else, please dig deep into your pockets to help pay for this lawsuit which affects us all here on Cape Cod.

Read all about it in today’s Cape Cod Times.

Eversource, contractors sued by Cape group
By Rich Eldred
A trio of named abuttors to the Eversource’s power lines on Cape Cod, as well as several unnamed plaintiffs filed suit Thursday afternoon in Barnstable Superior Court in an effort to stop the utilities application of herbicides under their wires.

Click HERE to read the full article.


People Vs. Eversource Moves Forward

Wellfleet Today

Good news.

POCCA has filed against EVERSOURCE, formerly known as NSTAR, to stop herbicidal spraying of toxic chemicals over Cape Cod’s sole source aquifer. A hearing will be held next week, October 1, at 2 at the Barnstable courthouse. This effort started seven years ago. I even remember attending the first pruning party, pictured above. Last night, over the phone, POCCA’s Laura Kelley described POCCA’s lawyer Bruce Taub as a “solid, strong voice for us all.” POCCA is still looking for more abutters to the power lines, willing to testify. And, going to court is costly. Please donate what you can to finance this effort and help keep endocrine disruptors out of our drinking water. Finally, consider attending next week’s session. Come support POCCA. The more, the merrier. Let’s show Eversource Cape Cod means business. We don’t want our sole source aquifer to be polluted with herbicides.

Click HERE to see the article and photo

Cape Cod Times Reports On Local Residents Opposition to Eversource Energy’s Herbicidal Spraying
CCTimes Photo of Eversource Spraying
Click on the photo to read the full article.

Are you an abutter to power lines on Cape Cod?
Have you received this notice?

Abutters Notice August 2015


Wrong way for right of way?

Protesters gather at NSTAR’s Yarmouth facility to protest the utility’s spraying of right of ways on Cape Cod.

Wicked Local photo by Rich Eldred

Wicked Local photo by Rich Eldred

By Rich Eldred
Nov. 6, 2014
The Cape Codder

     NSTAR is done with year two of their Integrated Vegetation Management Plan for Cape Cod right of ways, which contentiously includes the application of herbicides similar to Round-Up.
     ”Weather permitting we expect work to be done (last) week,” noted NStar spokesman Mike Durand. “The (official) ad included December but that’s a state regulation that we allow sufficient extra time.”
A dozen protesters against spraying herbicides rallied in front of NStar’s Willow Street offices in Yarmouth last Wednesday afternoon.
     ”I have a well next to the power lines. I have grandchildren and pets but the real issue is having a well so close that it has to be mapped,” noted Jim Wolf, brother of state Sen. Dan Wolf. “I am also the Sustainability Director for Cape Air. I’m happy to be working for a company trying to do this and that’s why I’m appalled by NStar’s behavior. They have a choice.”
     ”Everyone I’ve spoken to is in support of no spraying,” said real estate agent Michael Hall of Chatham. “There are so many other options. They’re just saving money that’s all.”

Read full article HERE


NSTAR catches flak over herbicide program
By Christine Legere
October 30, 2014
The Cape Cod Times

WEST YARMOUTH — One of the chief complaints voiced by opponents of NSTAR’s annual herbicide treatment on land beneath its power lines is that members of the public are not told specifically when their areas will be treated.

Read full article HERE


NSTAR will begin Cape herbicide applications soon
by Rich Eldred
Aug. 25, 2014
The Cape Codder

NSTAR has announced their program for herbicide application along their power line right-of-ways in Bourne, Chatham, Dennis, Falmouth, Harwich, Sandwich, Truro, Yarmouth and Wellfleet. They spraying window began Aug. 18, and could continue until Dec. 31. However, NStar spokesman Michael Durand said it has not yet commenced.
“We will notify abutters before we begin,” Durand promised. “It looks like it will be fall before we begin.”

Read full article HERE


NSTAR Resumes Herbicide Spraying
August 20, 2014
BARNSTABLE – NSTAR is once again controlling vegetation along their power lines using herbicide, over the objection of many of the Cape’s residents, spraying begins this week.

Laura Kelly is a founder of Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer, an advocacy group opposed to the practice.

Kelly says there are other ways to manage the situation.

“Town representatives, residents, don’t want this to happen above an aquifer.”

Read full article HERE


Pruning pines to putoff pesticides: HCT volunteers trim trees
By Rich Eldred
July 14, 2014
The Cape Codder

One half dozen volunteers did just that Wednesday in Harwich and they’d like to entice a few more pruners out next week. The Harwich Conservation Trust asked permission from the water department to do so in the hope the trimmed trees would dissuade NStar from applying more herbicides later this year. NStar did spray part the right of way in the Isobel Smith Monomoy River Conservation Lands that border Chatham. The land abuts the water department and the spraying stopped at the line so the HCT was tree trimming vigourously.
“We have community volunteers helping us clear out the under-story,” explained Matt Cannon, the HCT stewardship coordinator.

Read full article HERE


Cape delegation pushes for end to NSTAR spraying
By C. Ryan Barber
December 19, 2013
Cape Cod Times

For the second time this year, Cape and Islands legislators met privately with state officials Wednesday to raise concerns about NStar and its herbicide use in power line rights of way.

But unlike the October meeting, which was mostly informational, Wednesday’s discussion with Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources officials got out of the weeds, said freshman state Rep. Brian Mannal.

Read full article HERE


Nov. 18, 2013
Our health is in their hands.
These herbicides are endocrine disruptors.

“Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Read more about endocrine disruptors HERE.

Click HERE for the Cape Cod Times article on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Decision that effects the preservation of our water supply, and threatens our health.

NSTAR submitted their Yearly Operational Plan (YOP) for 2014 already.

This is just the beginning….
We’ve got to do more opposition & education to NSTAR & MDAR –
There is much proof out there, it’s a matter of communication.

The system is broken.
‘We the people’ should have prevailed.


Public Notice of NSTAR’s Intention
to Spray Herbicides in Towns on Cape Cod

The Cape Cod Times
November 7, 2013


A Message from POCCA’s Director
Oct. 28, 2013

Laura Kelley

Herbicide NSTAR plans to use:

Click on the color links to see articles and research on the effects of glyphosate
Glyphosate is an endocrine disrupter. 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 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. How can a utility company, who would like to continue using herbicide application in a unique environment like Cape Cod, NOT be taking the time to seriously research the most recent studies? 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.

There are laws, regulations, policies and guidelines in place for us to live by, some are Federal and some are State. Peer-reviewed scientific research takes 6 to 12 years to become documented fact. Are we going to wait? Are we willing to take this risk and wait for laws to be put into place to protect public health?

There is a plenitude of documentation being collected for review from accredited science labs around the world.
I’ve been referring to one in particular — a select group of scientists from a leading laboratory in France:
They prove that certain herbicides, when mixed together, magnify toxicity levels — killing human and animal cells as well as plant cells. They prove Glyphosate, found in RoundUp, is doing more harm than we realize. Even at extremely low doses, it lingers in the human biological system and creates a slow progression of harmful results.

How does Glyphosate affect the targeted plant? It doesn’t actually kill the plant.
It makes plants susceptible to disease, so it’s the disease that ends up killing the unwanted plant.
Glyphosate is a biocide that causes dramatic changes in the soil microbiology. For one thing, it takes Manganese out of the soil which plants need in order to survive. Glyphosate is a chelator that can grab onto another micronutrient, immobilizing it by binding the molecules to metal elements and decreasing nutrients, creating a slow death for the targeted plant. This weakens the plant, not killing it directly, thus it is the “imported” disease that ends up killing the plant. In the same way, this process upsets human biological balance, imposing metal elements into the organism and weakening the immune system, making us more susceptible to diseases that we otherwise would not develop — while we remain unaware of what these toxins are doing to our health.


PLEASE ACT NOW. Please send a letter stating your concerns about herbicides being used on the Cape to control vegetation along power lines to Michael McClean, Director of Massachusetts Rights-of-Way Programs
    Write to the officials listed on our Send A Letter page. Tell everyone you know about what is happening and what we can do to try and stop NSTAR’s use of herbicides on our land by sending a message focusing on our concerns to Mr. Michael McClean, Director of Massachusetts Rights-of-Way Programs for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and to the many other officials whose contact information is listed on our Send A Letter page.

Thank you for doing everything you can to help protect the land we all love. It’s time to get involved because you live here! Please write your concerns and tell your loves ones what’s going on throughout the back bone of Cape Cod. The larger the outreach the better chance we have to stop NSTAR from spraying herbicides. Ask NSTAR to seek alternatives to maintain vegetation under power lines, there are many other successful ways to handle this task.

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” — Sitting Bull

Here’s to our health and drinking water!
Laura Kelley, Director
POCCA Cape Cod

Fund-Raising Status:

POCCA has hired a lawyer to advise us about perhaps taking out an injunction against NSTAR and to become a non-profit organization under the law and we need to raise funds to cover lawyer’s fees. Our lawyer is currently working pro bono, but we will eventually incur costs. If anyone knows of an Angel who can help with these costs, please contact Laura Kelley at 774-353-6511. 

Thank you all! 

On behalf of all Cape Cod residents, we are grateful for your help and your donations.

We thank you all for your help and for your donations! Your support has been just amazing. We have been working feverishly behind the scenes to prevent NSTAR from using toxic herbicides on land under Cape Cod’s power lines. We have distributed side-walk signs from Provincetown to Sandwich, attended public gatherings to give out fliers and information, met with town officials and State Representatives to plan an effective strategy, and hired a lawyer to advise on taking out an injunction against NSTAR.

It is very clear that each town on Cape Cod is very concerned about this planned action by NSTAR. In fact, the Town of Brewster recently drafted a resolution to the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) that says:
“Please do everything in your power to permanently eliminate the broad-scale use of herbicides as an acceptable vegetative management practice. Please make efforts to encourage policies and programs to create cooperative partnerships for the safe productive use of lands within public utility rights of way . . . The fact that we must repeatedly argue the merits of protection of the public’s health, safety and welfare in this case against NSTAR’s private convenience is baffling and appalling.”

Keep up the pressure:

This isn’t over yet. Please help any way you can—by placing signs, making donations, contacting the MDAR, NSTAR, your Selectmen and State Officials to make your voice heard.  The greatest thing you can do is continue to spread the message to your circles of friends who live and visit Cape Cod.  We cannot let corporate interests take precedence over our safety and well-being. Click HERE to go to our Send A Letter page, where sample letters and a complete list of contact information is available to help you send your message to officials who are in a position to determine the outcome.

Where We Go From Here: 

August 1, 2013 was the original date set for NSTAR to begin using their VMP (Vegetation Management Plan). Your support and public outcry are the reason we have been able to keep the spraying of herbicides from happening according to the original timeline set out by NSTAR.

NSTAR did not begin applying toxic herbicides to vegetation in all towns from Orleans thru Bourne on Sept. 22nd as previously planned, but granted a continuation of the comment period for 45 more days, and then an additional 3 days, making the public comment period extend to November 4th. But time is still of the essence! Please contact your town and state representatives and request a halt to NSTAR’s plan to spray herbicides in varying toxic combinations along our power lines to control the vegetation.


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