As utilities quietly turn to herbicides, a challenge arises

Sarah Bernardi’s property spans 16 acres of Westmoreland County, bordering a creek cloaked by green trees and shrubbery. Also bordering her property is a high-voltage transmission line carrying electricity from power plants to local utilities.

Two summers ago, when West Penn Power told her it intended to spray herbicides to clear brush along its power line, she refused. Electricity trading strategies She was worried the chemicals would get into the creek and get into drinking water. Q gastrobar dias ferreira When the utility sprayed along her neighbors’ property and notified her she also would have to be part of the program, she complained to the state.

The lengthy case — and partial success — demonstrates the complications that can arise as electric utilities embrace herbicides as an effective tool to clear brush along hundreds of miles of transmission lines in southwestern Pennsylvania. It also illustrates that while landowners are generally comfortable with utility crews trimming trees and brush, many distrust chemical sprays.

“I can see why they would want to come and cut these,” Ms. Gas house gorillas Bernardi said, pointing at the vegetation inching higher toward the power line. “But I don’t see why they have to poison the ground. Electricity kwh calculator It can’t be right.”

In 2003, widespread power outages rolled throughout the Northeast, cutting off roughly 55 million customers across eight U.S. Electricity trading hubs states and Ontario for up to two days. La gas prices 2016 At the time, it was the world’s second largest blackout.

Federal investigators from both the U.S. I electricity bill com and Canada traced the outage to an overgrown transmission line in northern Ohio owned by FirstEnergy Corp., the Akron, Ohio, company that in 2011 acquired Greensburg-based West Penn Power and two other utilities in the region.

Congress passed new electric reliability standards that emphasized keeping the right-of-way along transmission lines clear of vegetation — a buffer zone typically ranging in width from 80 feet to more than 200 feet, depending on voltage.

While herbicides have always been in the toolbox for utilities, they became more important after the 2003 outage, said Chuck Anderson, FirstEnergy manager of transmission vegetation management. Gas block install Every transmission line is treated as critical to FirstEnergy’s power network, he said, and herbicides are regularly used.

“The objective is to promote a low-growing plant community,” he said. Electricity austin “If you manually clear with chainsaws or mow without herbicides, you’re going to end up with thicker, denser populations of trees and that threaten our reliability.”

Trees have been a leading cause of power outages in West Penn Power’s territory. Gas national average 2008 The utility reported 10,260 power interruptions in 2014 affecting about 723,000 customers. Electricity voltage used in usa That’s down from 19,924 interruptions in 2011 that hit nearly 1 million customers.

Federal best practices support the use of herbicides in this manner. Tropico 5 power plant And a long-running series of studies on the effects of herbicides on plants and animals along transmission lines — studies that are today sponsored partly by FirstEnergy — have shown certain herbicide sprays can promote abundant sources of food and cover.

The studies, which began in 1953 on state game lands in Centre County, found that herbicides kill off competition for plants like witch hazel, scrub oak, blueberries, blackberries and goldenrod. La gasolina in english That allows black bears and squirrels to feed on the fruit, deer to browse and graze on the grasses, and songbirds to forage insects in the vegetation.

Ms. Z gastroenterol Bernardi said she didn’t set out to engage in a do-it-yourself legal fight. Gas gangrene But after West Penn Power insisted on using the chemicals, she came to believe the company was violating state environmental codes that prohibit the spraying of herbicides within 100 feet of streams and wetlands.

She quickly ran into a regulatory quagmire: utilities are overseen by the state Public Utility Commission, clean water is guaranteed by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and herbicide use is governed by the state Department of Agriculture.

She ended up filing a formal complaint with the PUC, in which she challenged whether the use of herbicides is reasonable near a stream and in an area with well water.

“I had to teach myself, because what else are you going to do?” Ms. C gastronomie mariage Bernardi said, leafing through a stack of file folders at her home near Jeannette last week. Z gas el salvador empleos She represented herself during a five-hour telephone hearing and gathered her own evidence.

In the ruling issued Oct. Gas finder mn 20, 2015, and approved by the PUC earlier this month, administrative law judge Susan D. Gas bubble in chest and back Colwell seemed sympathetic. The transmission line in question stretches about 24 miles and part of it runs parallel to Bull Run, a creek that swells with rain and terminates in Bull Run Dam.

“The company’s attempt to make it sound as if (Ms. Electricity 2014 Bernardi’s) objection is outside a well-established norm does not ring true,” Ms. 1 unit electricity cost in andhra pradesh Colwell wrote. “In fact, the company has changed its methods … Electricity images cartoon to poison the right-of-way ground sufficiently to prevent regrowth.”

As a compromise, Ms. Electricity cost calculator Colwell prohibited West Penn Power from a broad spraying of herbicides on Ms. 2015 electricity prices Bernardi’s property, but allowed the company to treat stumps and roots directly after manual cutting.

In a response filing, West Penn Power agreed to the terms, pointing out it would retain the right to broadly spray on all other properties if it deemed necessary.

Ms. Electricity multiple choice questions grade 9 Bernardi is unhappy with the outcome, believing the PUC’s ruling should set a precedent to prohibit any utility from spraying herbicides near any wetland. Electricity for beginners She plans to take her case to the DEP next. Gas stoichiometry problems So far, West Penn Power has not cut or sprayed along her property.

West Penn Power insists that the herbicides are safe and that there’s no evidence the herbicides are contaminating the groundwater. Electricity physics khan academy A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture confirmed all commercial herbicide sprayers must be registered with the agency and use chemicals approved by the U.S. Gas house eggs Environmental Protection Agency.

“You can see the devastation,” she said, pointing to the withered trees upstream beside her neighbor’s property. Electricity projects for grade 7 “It’s a sad state of affairs.”

Correction: This story was updated on May 24, 2016 to accurately describe FirstEnergy’s 2011 acquisition of Greensburg-based West Penn Power, Potomac Edison and Mon Power.