NSTAR completes herbicide application under power lines in Tisbury

After a voluntary four-year moratorium, NSTAR resumed spraying herbicides on its rights of way along its power lines on the Cape and Vineyard last Monday.

“Having received approval of our plan by the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources [DAR] earlier this month, we began limited herbicide application on the Vineyard last week and finished for the year last Friday,” NSTAR spokesman Michael Durand said in response to an email from The Times. “Most of the work was on a right-of-way in Tisbury, with some extending into Oak Bluffs.”

In addition to the Vineyard, herbicides will be applied in eight towns on the Cape by the end of the year, according to an article published online by the Bourne Courier.

NSTAR received permission from the DAR on November 15 to start its integrated vegetation management plan (IVMP). “Our program is a thoughtful, three-pronged approach including mechanical mowing, natural control, and selectively using environmentally-sensitive herbicides to eliminate tall-growing invasive vegetation,” NSTAR said in a website statement.

NSTAR last applied herbicides in 2009. The utility agreed to a self-imposed moratorium on herbicide use after hearing opposition from Cape communities in 2010, according to the Bourne Courier.

At a meeting on September 17, Jerry McDermott, NSTAR community relations, assured Tisbury selectmen that the herbicide application is subject to rigorous state and Federal regulations and would target specific plant species in a limited area under power lines in Tisbury.

NSTAR already filed its 2014 plan with the DAR and the 45-day comment period started November 20.