Islanders protest Eversource herbicide spraying


Approximately 50 Islanders gathered before the Eversource facility on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs Sunday afternoon to protest the utility’s continued use of herbicides along its Island electrical corridors.

Passing motorists honked support at homemade signs like “Say no to Rodeo,” “Wack — don’t spray,” “Exterminate glyphosate,” “Save our water supply,” “Goats eat brush,” among others.

At one point, a returning Eversource boom truck pulled past the protesters into the facility parking area and the signs turned to follow it like a radar dish tracking a plane. Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel was among the protesters, and state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, drove in for a brief appearance.

Clarissa and Keith Crossland of Frosty Hollow Farm in Oak Bluffs came with their infant son, Hezekiah, despite Eversource assurances that this year there would be no spraying under the power lines alongside their property.

Ms. Crossland said Eversource is damaging the Island’s water system wherever it sprays. Furthermore, she and her husband are still fuming from the heavy-handed tree cutting recently done at their farm by an off-Island Eversource contractor.

“They completely devastated our property,” Ms. Crossland said.

Eversource said it would cut a 20-foot-wide path under the power lines, Ms. Crossland said. Instead, it cut one “at least 50 feet wide.” They also left a mess, she said. Eversource offered no compensation but told her they may plant some lilacs in the clear cut zone.


  1. Document what you have. Hire multiple reputable agencies to test the water at various locations around the Island so there’s proof the water table was clean before Eversource.

    And maybe some mind games on Eversource workers, post signs at intervals stating “This site was tested mm/dd/yyyy.”

  2. I’m saving this article to bring back when you complain about power outages caused by lack of tree trimming and brush control.

    • swingoll— how would lack of brush control knock out power lines ?
      I also don’t see where they are proposing to trim trees with chemicals.
      Two different problems, 2 different solutions.
      The issue is money. The top 8 executives of Eversource make a combined $28 million a year.
      If they can hold out, poison the general public and save some money on maintenance, the exec’s can get a bonus..
      Eversource by the way, does an extraordinary job of maintaining their lines.

  3. All manner of people make bold assertions about toxic poisoning and understand little or nothing about chemistry, about ground water about parts per million and dosages. It is still fracking and flouride and sea levels. If only the general public would understand what hoops the chemical companies have to jump through to bring a product to market and respond to regulations and testing and research. In large part chemical companies behave responsibly and rationally as does Pharma and all manner of industry. Somehow a small coterie of people of MV think we are all doomed due to spraying and pesticides–we are all being poisoned and the government is in the pocket of the multinationals. Keep buying organic and non gmo and overpaying so you feel less guilty but lifespans are going up not down and pesticides and herbicides have lifted millions out of poverty due to increased productivity in agriculture all over the world.

    • After walking and fighting thru the agent orange infected rice paddies and highlands of Vietnam I know all I need to know about toxic chemistry, having experienced personally in my own body and later in a (thankfully, minor) birth defect in my son. The hoops that concern me are the ones that the ordinary people have to jump thru to stop the use of harmful chemicals. We can have some fun talking about “multinationals” on a relevant thread.

      • Mr Clifford. Thank you for your service. Yes Agent Orange was used as a defoliant and I have no doubt it was used carelessly during the Vietnam war. I am also saddened that you suffered harm as a result of its presence. However Roundup is not Agent Orange. I will not bore you with the chemistry but it is entirely different. Advocates for banning want to lump them together but you are old enough and wise enough to know that advocacy information often misrepresents. I would ask you to do the research to see how glysophate and 24-D and and plant synthesis of crucial enzymes has no analog in mamalian biology. The most toxic element in in Roundup is the carrier which is a surfactant and spreader like dish soap which if you drank it would sicken you but not poison you.

        • Why did Monsanto have to engineer glysophate-resistant crops? I credit Monsanto for this tidbit of information. By the way, not even Monsanto claims Roundup is 100% safe, they prefer saying “mostly.”

      • One small blip in 20 years. Selective reading New Englander. Life expectancy has been gowing up all the time herbicides were being used. The blip is likely violence in the streets from shooting but I wont speculate

        • andrew– I doubt you really think the decrease in life expectancy is related to deaths from shootings ? You know more about math than that. But if in fact you do, perhaps you would be more inclined to support some form of rational gun control ? How about getting congress to reverse their ban on the cdc and allow them to compile statistics on gun deaths?

    • andrew– you of all people should know about the chemical industrie’s efforts to reduce regulations for the use of these classes of chemicals. You have some good points about the benefits of chemicals, but you seem willfully ignorant of the potential negative consequences of the widespread and often unnecessary use of them. One need not pay too much attention to understand the financial motivations for overuse and abuse.
      You talk about cherry picking the facts, then you choose what facts you think are relevant. We all do that of course. I can bring up Love Canal, for example.

      • There’s a park with a pond about a mile downstream from the privately-owned development and testing facility where my Dad worked. The pond was dredged 55 years ago, nothing grows in the spoils. The pond is being dredged again after the EPA said the toxin level was acceptable; some modest variety of plants have grown in the pond, I don’t recall many vertebrates. To the point: tests of the dredge spoils show there are still toxins of concern. I don’t know where they’re putting the stuff this time but money will find a location.

  4. A lot of speculation and off topic stuff drifting in here – how about somebody respond to my suggestion that the Island look into having its own power plant?

    • your link was not very informative. Also, our own power plant would still require tying into the grid. It would do nothing to resolve the topic of this article.

      • On the contrary, tripledon; it would give the island voters the right to decide how to keep power lines clear – and many other benefits to boot.

  5. dondondon. Love canal is irrelevant to this discussion. In 1942 Hooker Chemical dumped chemical waste into this area. It was wrong but it was also 75 years ago. Chemical herbicides and pesticides when used properly in the correct ppm are safe and highly productive. By the way the gun death issue is a red herring and you know it. No one wants to talk about gun deaths in inner cities that have strong gun control laws because in so talking one becomes perilously close to the sacrosanct topic of black on black crime and that is sacred and untouchable ground.

    • The gun deflection a second time and with race added for dramatic effect. Stick to the topic: whether herbicides and pesticides developed in laboratories are safe. I cannot give the name of my father’s employer, I expect there was a non-disparagement agreement when he retired.

      But Monsanto is fair game. Try Monsanto’s sales pitch for Roundup:

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