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Letter to the Editor: Opposition to herbicides in Maspenock

by | Mar 26, 2024 | Letter to Editor

Recently, the Conservation Commission approved the use of diquat and endothall in Lake Maspenock this spring as recommended by the Lake Maspenock Weed Management & Control Advisory Group. The Sustainable Green Committee has always opposed this use (see Page 59 of the town’s Climate Action Plan). At the Conservation Committee meeting where the vote occurred, someone stated that we all agree. This is not true. This is not national politics, and we can disagree without being disagreeable.

In 2015, Town Meeting voted down the herbicide use by a wide margin, and the Weed Management & Control Advisory Group was formed. I do not believe the members were given power to make final determination. Over the years, I have written about reasons not to use the toxics. Briefly here, to respect the web of life, diquat is banned in multiple countries worldwide, reputable scientists have stated that more study is needed, and diquat is absorbed in soils that remain polluted for years.

Now, before applying the herbicides to 50 acres of town waters (the upper basin), we have another reason to hesitate. Multiple herbicides have been found to contain PFAS in their inert ingredients that are not published, and in their containers. The Sustainable Green Committee is proposing a warrant to allow funding for testing of chemicals to be spread on town lands and waters.

I believe more discussion is needed, and that town groups can have differing opinions. The Sustainable Green Committee opposes, the Conservation Committee approves, and the Select Board meets this week.

— Carol Esler, Hopkinton (a member of the Sustainable Green Committee but writing as a private citizen)

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