Eversource Energy, New England’s largest investor-owned utility, started trimming trees and removing them as methods for increasing the resiliency and reliability of the electrical grid in 2007. Since then, it’s become a notoriously problematic company—it’s been spraying right-of-way areas around transformers in towns throughout the Cape, for instance, without the consent of many local officials. Now it is setting its sights on Rowayton and Norwalk, Connecticut, and its “tree pruning” plan raises concerns. As if killing trees and cutting them down isn’t bad enough, the plan includes the use of the herbicide triclopyr on stumps left behind.
You can read about the risks of triclopyr below:
The most common breakdown product of triclopyr—TCP—may be especially hazardous to children, according to Beyond Pesticides. Researchers studied the ability of TCP to disrupt the development and maturation of the nervous system of fetuses, infants and children. It is also harmful to the environment because is very mobile in a variety of soil types and is toxic to fish and aquatic organisms. Not to mention triclopyr contains chlorpyrifos, which is banned in California. Chlorpyrifos has been linked to brain damage and other health defects in children. In 2017, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists determined that the insecticide jeopardizes 1,399 plants and animals on the endangered species list.
Eversource should be using proper maintenance practices instead of taking shortcuts with toxic chemicals. When there is concern about grow-back from cut trees, the solution is regular maintenance and check-ins to make sure sprouts aren’t forming. Otherwise, stumps should simply be ground out.
Considering our climate crisis, municipalities should be increasing, improving and enhancing tree cover in communities. And that means holding Eversource’s feet to the fire regarding its lazy, dangerous practices. FoA has provided arguments to Norwalk’s Common Council members so they can avert disaster with Eversource.