What of the unintended consequences?

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing the letter from Gordon Massingham and the reply from Herb Custer. I was pleased to see an immediate and thorough response from Mr. Custer, in his role as chairman of the Tisbury board of health. Wouldn’t it be nice if all our public entities did as well and were so clear in pointing out what they see as the role of their board and in keeping a clear paper trail of official decision making.

There is no question in my mind that the Tisbury BOH did and does what they are required by the state to do. But, and it is a big but, there was no answer to Mr. Massingham’s real question of what is right and what is not. Is it right for NSTAR to ever use any herbicide anywhere on Martha’s Vineyard? NSTAR made a business decision based on dollars: cheaper to spray defoliant than cut and chip. In the short term that may look like a reasonable decision, but Mr. Massingham raises many concerns and points out many possible unintended consequences.

It is past time for all the Island towns to pass laws forbidding the use of defoliants. They are all dangerous and they all have “unintended consequences.”

Chris Murphy

Chilmark