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By Kari Dolan
I would like everyone to be aware that Green Mountain Power (GMP) intends on using herbicides in Waitsfield and Warren. Please join me in urging GMP to use mechanical control over herbicides. This is especially important if your water supply is near a right of way, or if you are concerned as I am about unnecessary use of toxics in the environment.
Last week, I found a public notice in the Burlington Free Press announcing that GMP will be applying five different herbicides to manage vegetation under power lines in towns across its service area, including Waitsfield and Warren. Operations are expected to begin on or around May 12, 2014.
The announcement states that it is the residents' responsibility to notify GMP (Jarod Wilcox: 888-835-4672, direct yourself to the tree trimming division or ask for the forestry department) if there is a private water supply near the right of way. The announcement also says to contact the Agency of Agriculture for more information: 802-828-2431. Please contact them to register your concerns.
Mechanical trimming was used for years in Waitsfield and elsewhere as a means to control vegetation under power lines. I recognize that it is important to keep electrical wires free of vegetation. However, I suspect that GMP is planning on using herbicides because it is less expensive. I argue that an herbicide-based management strategy poses costs onto all of us by increasing risk to human health and the environment.
Let us work together and with GMP to find more benign alternatives to toxics in our environment. Mechanical control of vegetation in rights of way, especially in areas that are near our homes, is the best strategy for controlling vegetation. Most importantly, mechanical control places the health of our families, farms, visitors and the environment first. We need to minimize the use of toxics to keep all of us safe – including our families, our farms that are growing local food and our friends and visitors that are hiking and riding our trails.
I live near a right of way; I have a spring situated immediately adjacent to it. My daughter is a cancer survivor. I have neighbors who are cancer survivors. These experiences have made me generally concerned about the unknown health risks associated with the use of toxics in the environment. I will be contacting GMP next week to express my concerns. But I am also thinking of you, my neighbors. Please join me in contacting GMP to promote mechanical control under rights of way, especially near your home, to help keep all of us safe from unnecessary use of toxics.
Kari Dolan lives in Waitsfield.