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Two selectman and three residents of Eastham met Wednesday with three representatives of NStar to offer the electric company a free brush clearing brigade if it would agree to halt all plans this year to spray herbicides along its power lines.  NStar had planned to begin a program in June to kill vegetation growing under and around the lines, which are the main conduits for electrical power on the Cape.  The company has postponed spraying because of public concern about the potential risk herbicides may pose to topsoil and groundwater.

“They really more or less declined the offer of having the citizens offer to do the whole five miles,” said Sheila Vanderhoef, Eastham’s Town Administrator.  “They indicated that they have their own landscape people  to do mechanical and hand cutting. They did indicate that they would consider limiting themselves for this year to the mechanical and hand-cutting alternative.”

Vanderhoef said that Eastham’s board of selectmen is exploring the possibility of drafting a law or home-rule petition that would ban herbicides and pesticides town-wide.  “That’s a longer term solution,” she said.  “In the short term, yesterday, they focused on offering up a labor contingent.”

NStar representative Caroline Allen acknowledged Eastham’s offer.  “We had a very productive meeting,” she said.  “We’re not in any rush.  We want to make sure we proceed carefully here.”  NStar will likely make its decision next week whether to accept Eastham’s offer.  “We’re going to hold off any response until we make a formal decision.”

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