CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Appalachian Power plans to begin spraying herbicide by helicopter along power lines in the state in a couple of months.The electric utility applies various herbicides in less populated areas where terrain and accessibility make it difficult for crews on foot to safely clear rights of way, said John Ertz, senior utility forester, in a news release.Power lines in populated areas, as well as near parks, ponds and other sensitive regions are maintained by other means, such as by foot, said Phil Moye, spokesman for Appalachian Power."Our terrain in West Virginia is challenging in many areas so we do it in areas where it makes sense to do so," Moye said, "but we don't in any areas where we have homes or even lawns."
Spraying is planned for parts of Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties. The spraying will begin around June 3, according to the companiesIn Kanawha County, among other places, herbicide will be sprayed along a transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Capital Hill Station off Twilight Drive in Charleston running east, passing the midpoints of Rensford and Cedar Grove and ending near U.S. 60 in Glasgow.Moye said the helicopter wouldn't spray herbicide on the entire transmission line."I don't believe that we would use a helicopter on every inch of the line from one point to another," Moye said. "The description is intended to let people know this is the line we're proposing to maintain, but we're not going to be spraying on the street where people live."Right-of-way maintenance agreements between Appalachian Power and landowners are available to landowners who prefer to accept responsibility for clearing the right of way crossing their property instead of Appalachian Power aerially applying herbicides.The agreement compensates the landowner by an amount equivalent to the cost of the helicopter herbicide application, according to the release.Herbicides used by AEP have been registered for use on rights of way by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company says.Customers with questions about the company's aerial maintenance program may call, toll-free, 1-800-642-3622 or write AEP at AEP, Bluefield District, 2507 Washington St., Bluefield, W.Va., 24701 or Charleston District, P.O. Box 1986, Charleston, W.Va., 25327. Complaints may also be directed to the state Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Regulatory Programs Unit in Charleston, 304-558-2209.Reach Megan Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org