Opposition to the use of herbicides around Eversource power lines continued at a meeting of the West Tisbury select board on Wednesday night, when the board determined to send a letter opposing the practice to the state Department of Agricultural Resources.

The issue was brought to the board by Laura Kelley, a representative from the Protect our Cape Cod Aquifer advocacy group.

Ms. Kelley explained Eversource’s effort to approve herbicide use in its five-year Vegetative Management Plan, now in a public comment phase before MDAR. The plan does not specify which herbicides would be used, though she said the company has previously used glyphosate-based products.

“This public comment period is really meaningful to the state,” said Ms. Kelley. “This is a chance; you can be really strong.”

Opposition to the herbicide use on power line rights of way began in 2009, resulting in a state mandated four-year moratorium on the practice. A plan to resume spraying around Squibnocket pond was successfully challenged in the state Supreme Court by the town of Chilmark in 2014, after a long legal battle.

The practice resumed elsewhere on Island in 2017 and was subject to continued challenges by several Island towns. Controversy resurfaced most recently in 2021, when the town of Tisbury sent a letter of protest to Eversource about the practice. The town also signed a letter of support for proposed state legislation, sponsored by Rep. Dylan Fernandes, which would allow communities to regulate such use. That bill has not made it out of committee.

On Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to send a letter to the state department of agricultural resources, based on a previous letter sent in support of Tisbury’s efforts.

In other business, the board discussed a cap on membership on the town’s diversity task force.

“We are trying to represent as many constituencies in the town as we can,” said task force member Susanna Sturgis, arguing for the group to have a cap higher than the standard seven members. The board voted to allow them a maximum of ten members, though not all positions need be filled immediately.

The task force, Ms. Sturgis said, is currently working on a new edition of the What Makes West Tisbury Tick survey, thought she said that they plan to leave the word tick out of the survey this time.

The board also put forward Matt Coffey, a member of the Island Housing Trust’s project development committee, to be a representative of West Tisbury on the high school’s building committee alongside select board member Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter, 3rd. The final makeup of that committee will be appointed by the MV Regional High School Committee.