Cape Activists Call for NStar to Use Goats to Trim Company's Power Lines

An environmental group sponsored an event last month to protest plans to spray herbicide along power lines, by proposing grazing goats as a safer alternative. The Boston Business Journal covered the event, which it says was sparked by NStar’s plans to spray herbicides along approximately 100 miles of power lines on Cape Cod and the Islands to control plant growth near power lines.

The group hosted a professional goat herder, who showed "how skilled goats can be in removing unwanted vegetation." NSTAR told the Journal that vegetation management programs like NStar's are widely used across the country by other utilities, and considered to be the most effective way in clearing utilities' right-of-ways of invasive species and encouraging a sustainable low-growth meadowlands environment.

GreenCAPE argues that grazing goats are a great option for land that suffers from unwanted plants, low organic matter and soil compaction. Many places in the country, such as the Congressional Cemetery in Washington have successfully used goats for weed control, the group says.

However, using grazing goats as an alternative to herbicides is much less effective because goats are indiscriminate eaters and in many cases, spread seed when they eat, leading to an increased amount of undesirable species, [NSTAR's] Durand said...(Boston Business Journal)

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