Dominion herbicides: Don’t buy it

And now, a letter from a C-VILLE reader:

Dear Editor,

Travelling west on Fontaine Ave., one cannot help but notice the unsightly herbicide  spraying along the power line adjacent to Piedmont Housing, home to a number of  families with young children. Is this a "beautification" project by Dominion or one of its subcontractors? Wouldn’t it be more environmentally and socially responsible to spare us the toxicity of herbicides and instead hire workers at a living wage to clear the power line? Dominion or the subcontractor might even invest in appropriate plantings that could be maintained with regularity and contribute to the visual improvement to this primary avenue into our city.

Sincerely, Elena Day

Excellent thoughts, Ms. Day. Just recently I noticed similar evidence of spraying—brown, shriveled foliage—along the road where I live. What disturbed me was that this was mere feet from a small creek. Spots near where kids play are equally bad places to be spraying poison.

Dominion has claimed in the past (in testimony before the State Corporation Commission—look for "John Bailey" if you follow the link) that its use of herbicides "allows the retention of desirable vegetation and the elimination of undesirable, tall, woody plants. The result of selective herbicide applications is increased plant diversity and improved wildlife habitat." Imagine that! Better living through chemistry, even if you’re a bird or a turtle.

I don’t buy it. In any case, Dominion has recently been greening its image (new coal-burning plants notwithstanding) and this would seem to be a potential PR hotspot for them, if they could figure out a better way to keep their lines clear than spraying. Everybody would win.

Anyone else seen evidence of spraying lately, in this season of wild plant growth?

Posted In:     Uncategorized

Previous Post

Eurydice; Live Arts, in the Upstage Theater; Through June 27

Next Post

Albemarle Ciderworks will update an old-fashioned libation

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of