Monday, January 10, 2011

Update from Ellie re: Herbicide Use in Newton 1 10 2011

Dear friends and neighbors,

Thanks for your interest in the issue of herbicide use on the MBTA.

Since first contacting Mayor Warren, I've learned that not only the MBTA but also several state agencies (highways, railroads, and other rights of way) have been applying herbicides and plan future herbicide use in Newton. 

The Mayor has not responded to the November 12 letter, but he designated Bob Rooney, Chief Operating Officer, to find out more.

At a meeting Mr. Rooney held with MBTA officials and contractors and a few Newton officials, he learned that, a
lthough there are state regulations requiring reporting, record keeping and public notification, these regulations have not been followed.  (No official minutes were taken at the meeting.) 

Linda Walsh (Health Department) wrote a response on behalf of the city to the MBTA's hearing announcement expressing an interest in better notification of herbicide use.  Walsh letter

To get a big picture of all the herbicide use by state agencies, I asked for a list of all the 2010 herbicide applications on Newton Rights of Way.  In late December, Bob Rooney said that the City Law Department would obtain information from the various agencies and their contractors but first was giving Linda Walsh time to search records at the Health Department.  I am waiting for that information.

I've posted
updates, history and other links and information online at Don't Spray 'em. Outsmart 'em.

Recent posts include a notice of a January 19 hearing regarding HIGHWAYS VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PLAN.

Personal note:

The evidence continues to grow about the role of pollution in preventable chronic conditions and health problems, especially asthma, birth defects, cancer and developmental disabilities.   

Do you know others who agree that protecting our families from preventable and harmful toxic exposures requires our government leaders to enforce environmental, health and safety laws and regulations?  

Please share this information and ask them to contact me to add their names to the list of Newton citizens who think that Newton citizens have a right to know when herbicides are used in our community and that it makes sense to reduce herbicides used by government agencies and other users.

Happy New Year,