Forum, May 21: You can request that GMP not spray herbicides near you

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
You can request that GMP not spray herbicides near you

Among the joys of spring comes the poisoning of our towns by Green Mountain Power. Every spring, GMP sprays herbicide under power lines to decrease the growth of vegetation. Prior to the application, customers are given the option to decline the herbicide treatment if within 1,000 feet of their property.

When asked my reasons for declining, I listed we had children, honeybee hives, a well and a nearby stream that flows to the Connecticut River. Although the GMP representative told me the herbicides are “safe,” these are “excellent reasons” to decline the herbicide treatment. So, how can these herbicides be “safe” and kill weeds at the same time? It seems to me that chemicals designed to kill plants are also effective at killing other things. By killing weeds, we poison ourselves in the process.

Given safer alternatives to commercial herbicides, such as burying power lines, mechanical trimming, mowing, hand-weeding and even goats, I asked GMP if it would consider stopping or at least decreasing the use of herbicides. Jarod Wilcox, the GMP transmission arborist, and his team listened to my concerns, but stated that the herbicide treatment was necessary to keep customers safe and to keep the power on.

I feel the use of herbicides is in contrast to the philosophy of Green Mountain Power — a company that was named one of the top 10 energy companies in the world, a company whose president and chief executive officer, Mary Powell, is concerned about the future of the planet and has shown a commitment to use energy as a force for good and to deliver low-carbon, reliable power to Vermonters. I think we should expect more from Green Mountain Power.

I hope Powell and GMP will please consider other options besides spraying chemicals for vegetation treatment and continue to be leaders in the modern environmental movement. If you don’t want herbicides on or near your land, you may contact Green Mountain Power at 888-835-4672 or 802-770-3231 to request no spraying or with any comments, questions or concerns.



They’re more than spuds, they’re a basic necessity

The story in Wednesday’s paper about potatoes in White River Junction caught my attention (“Hey, Hartford: This spud’s for you,” May 15). Little bags of seed potatoes were being given out to Hartford residents wanting to try their hand at growing, with the idea that the whole thing be cast in the light of fun.

Believe me, I’m all for fun, just not on an empty stomach.

Here’s the thing. Sooner, rather than later, we are going to need a heck of a lot more potatoes than we are producing locally. The vagaries of the weather have, just in the last growing season — namely a very wet fall — caused major losses of potato crops right here in our backyard: thousands of acres of potatoes in Prince Edward Island went unharvested because the ground was too wet to lift them, and other Canadian provinces also suffered difficult harvesting conditions.

In Williamstown, Vt., a large potato farm lost close to 40% of its crop due to impossibly wet harvesting conditions.

Here in the Connecticut River Valley seed potatoes in any quantity have become scarce, with some sources drying up completely.

Not long ago this region grew a lot of potatoes. They weren’t blue and they weren’t French fingerlings, but rather main crop potatoes that were plentiful and affordable. I would say we have a mandate to grow tons of potatoes to provide folks with a basic necessity. Perhaps a few enterprising and capable farmers in each town could be commissioned to raise a few staple crops like potatoes, onions, dry beans and corn to re-establish some level of self-sufficiency before the supply crisis hits. And a commission would feel like a lot more like fun than a requisition.



Calling for a vote in Norwich on proper plastic recycling

This letter is written in support of the proposition to have Norwich’s plastic film packaging recycled correctly. This is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday by the Selectboard.

I strongly encourage you to vote in favor of sending our plastic film packaging, used to wrap many products, and our foil-lined plastic to a proper recycling facility.

My class collected all the plastic that we used in two months, and the results were startling. The town of Norwich throws away 100 pounds of film plastic a week. If you consider how light film plastic is, that fact is shocking. Imagine the entire Earth’s amount of plastic — we throw away 300,000 tons of plastic every year.

It may seem that we have come to a place where there is no hope. The hope for our future is resting upon each of us voting and acting responsibly. Please vote Wednesday in favor of sending our plastic to be properly recycled. Thank you.



The writer is a Marion Cross School fifth grader.