In a letter to me about the effect of the proposed Constitution Pipeline on invasive species (Mike Empey, May 30), Dr. Bernd Blossey, director of the Institute for Invasive Species at Cornell University, said:

“I have worked with numerous consultants… hired by pipeline construction companies, who have struggled to restore pipeline ROW’s now infested particularly by purple loosestrife and Phragmites. These species are prone to spread on construction equipment or along the linear dispersal corridors created by construction activities. And while we have some relief for control of purple loosestrife, there is no such option for Phragmites or Japanese knotweed. A student of mine and I have just completed a nationwide assessment of Pragmites management costs and we concluded that no success in controlling spread or abundance of introduced Phragmites was achieved despite expenditures of $4 million annually by management agencies on herbicide control. Phragmites is occurring throughout your area and any construction activity will likely introduce propagules or clear the path for arriving propagules to establish and thrive further threatening the adjacent wetlands that have not been disturbed. Any ROW will need to be maintained as open habitat in perpetuity, or as long as the pipeline is operating. Consequently, the disturbance…will continue and facilitate the spread of invasive species from adjacent areas…These species will not remain on the ROW but spread into the adjacent wetlands, even if they can maintain their current hydrological function...”

As Mr. Empey says, the invasive species that the proposed pipeline would spread cause enormous economic costs. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement doesn’t mention these economic costs. Nor does it propose ways to control invasive species effectively. It couldn’t because there is no way to do so. Cabot and Williams will not bear the costs of invasive species. Those who live here will forever.

Bruce S. Kernan


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