Duke Energy Officials Address Concerns About Spraying
Last week Duke Energy officials met with local residents that are concerned about the company’s new herbicide policy for vegetation control near its power lines. Mitchell County Commissioners heard from representatives from Duke Energy along with the NC Pesticide Board and Spruce Pine resident David Wheeler who started the online petition that brought attention to the issue. Duke Energy told commissioners that all chemicals used in the process are regulated by the EPA and approved by the USDA and that the herbicides are sprayed on a three year basis, meaning that the areas spayed this past summer will not have to be sprayed as heavily next time and will be less noticeable to the public. Wheeler wants the utility companies to annually brief county commissioners and the county manager on their vegetation management plans and to inform residents, via mail or phone, before spraying is conducted. Duke officials agreed to a public forum in the spring to discuss the spraying and answer any concerns citizens might have. The Commissioners said that they would look further into the issue.