Chilmark will go to the state’s highest court to block a group of riparian owners from using herbicideson Squibnocket Pond.

Six riparian owners want to use herbicides to control phragmites in Squibnocket Pond. The town wants to block them, citing rules that prohibit pesticides around the pond. On advice of counsel, selectmen will ask the Supreme Judicial Court to decide the dispute.


The state Department of Agricultural Resources will allow comment until Feb. 18 on utility's plan to use herbicides to control vegetation under power lines.

Amidst public scrutiny of NStar’s vegetation management practices, senior arborists from the utility company addressed concerns of Tisbury residents at a meeting on Tuesday of the board of health.

The power company resumed an herbicide spraying program last month, reigniting a debate about threats to the environment on the Cape and Vineyard.

I have lived on Lake Street in Vineyard Haven for 25 years. A few years ago, I went to pick up my mail at the cluster box under the power lines and saw a crew of workers with chainsaws taking down a lovely grove of small trees that shaded the boxes. I called NStar and was told that they have a mandate from the federal government to keep the rights of way free from vegetation lest something fall on the power lines. Since the power lines are at least 50 feet off the ground, this scenario seemed very unlikely, insofar as the trees were no taller than 12 feet.