Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter from Linda Walsh to MA Dept. of Agric Resources

Health and Human Services Department
Linda Walsh, Interim Commissioner
1294 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1544
Telephone 617.796.1420   Fax 617.552.7063   TDD/TTY 617.796.1089

December 7, 2010   
Rights-of -Way Program
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Pesticide Bureau
251 Causeway Street, Suite 500
Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2151

Dear Sir,

I am writing to comment on the yearly operational plan to manage vegetation along the railroad’s right of way in compliance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Rights of Way Management Regulations 333 CMR 11.00. The public notification of herbicide applications is mandated by this regulation to our department by registered mail at least 21 days in advance of treatment.

This notification is extremely important to ensure adequate time for notice to be given to our citizens so that one may take the necessary precautions before, during and after the use of herbicides.   It has been our experience that the notification procedures have not been followed according to the mandated protocol.  This should be addressed with explicit language that would ensure the notification procedures are followed, up to and including canceling the spraying until such notification has occurred.

It is understood that the notification will occur in the local newspaper, which is acceptable, however I would further request that the Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services is notified via email and telephone (, 617-796-1420) concurrent with the public notification to establish the necessary relationship with managers on ground.  This would enable the City to conduct further notifications and assist in the answering of further questions raised by Newton residents.  

This is a matter of great importance in maintaining the public health and safety of all residents. I appreciate your attention to this matter.


Linda Walsh
Interim Commissioner of Health and Human Services