New Study Finds Treehuggers Had It Right All Along

– Story by Adam Cervin, Greenwich Patch

According to new research just released from the U.S. Forest Service and the Davey Institute, urban forests across the country save thousands of lives every year. Trees not only save lives, but according to the study, they reduce hospital visits and the number of days taken off work, and help people nationwide breathe better. They do this simply by collecting pollutants on their leaves and branches and thus remove them from the air.
> Read the full story by Adam Cervin on Greenwich Patch.

Please Write to Save Our Street Trees!

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) needs to hear from you! Please write, email or come to one of the two hearings this Wednesday or Thursday to let PURA know that you do not agree with the two electrical utility companies (UI and CL&P) clearing all trees ground to sky 8 feet from either side of an electrical line. This drastic clearing along our roadways has not been proven to increase power reliability however it will diminish the environmental benefits we gain from our trees.

Please review the background information below and write to PURA today!

UTILITY TREE REMOVAL AND PRUNING

United Illuminating has submitted a plan to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) which calls for eventual removal of all trees and branches, except right tree/right place trees, within 8 feet on either side of its electric distribution wires from ground to sky (now known as the Utility Protection Zone or UPZ).

CL&P plans call for such removal under or near its distribution wires in much more of its territory than in the past. These plans apply to all towns and cities within UI or CL&P territory

To see what could happen to your street and roadside trees, look up at the electric distribution wires (the top wires) and measure 8 feet to the left and right, ground to sky. Any tall tree or tall growing tree within the UPZ is scheduled to be removed under the UI and CL&P plans, whether it is hazardous or healthy. If not removed, it may be severely pruned.

Two public hearings are scheduled:

PURA NOTICE-CL&P
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 pm – Technical Meeting
6:30 pm – Public Information Session
Hearing Room 1, PURA
Ten Franklin Square
New Britain, CT

PURA NOTICE-UI
Thursday, March 6, 2014
6:30 pm – Technical Meeting and Public Information Session

Hamden Middle School Auditorium
2623 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, CT

The technical meetings on March 5 with CL&P and March 6 with UI in PURA Docket No. 12-01-10 are open to the public. Their purpose is to gather and clarify information from the utilities.

Public Comments

The public will be asked to sign up to speak at the public information sessions. Remarks should be brief and not repetitive.

When you speak, you can respond to the utility presentation, and can add new comments and information relevant to your concerns about the use of rigid line clearance standards (especially ETT/ETR) by UI and CL&P. Specific personal examples of past or potential negative impact on your home, business, neighborhood or town, because of the use of rigid line clearances (previously used only by CL&P), would be helpful. If you don’t want to speak, it is still important to attend to show your concern.

You may send a written comment to PURA before or after the meetings. There will be a short period after the meetings in which PURA will welcome written public comments, and these may be particularly effective if based on what occurred at the meetings.

Written comments should include a reference to Docket No. 12-01-10,and be sent by e-mail to Pura.executivesecretary@ct.gov and Nicholas.neeley@ct.gov or via U.S. mail to PURA, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051

PURA’s final decision in this docket regarding utility tree pruning and removal will apply to both utilities. PURA’s draft decision in this docket approves the use of ETT/ETR.

For updates and additional information visit The Garden Club of New Haven.

Not seeing the forest for the trees?

Photo: Bob Luckey

Read the full story by Gina Gould in The Greenwich Citizen

Over the last two months, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there have been 241 trees chopped down in Greenwich by CL&P, with 17 more on the chopping block.

The cutting is a result of a collaborative agreement between CL&P, Metro-North and the DOT to eliminate any and all trees along the Mianus power line that might succumb to severe winds thus disrupting power or mass transit. It is the Mianus Line that powers Greenwich and the Metro-North railway from Stamford to Greenwich.

The removal of these trees seems like a logical, proactive approach to reduce the likelihood of future power loss… MORE > Read the full story by Gina Gould in The Greenwich Citizen.

Testimony of Executive Director JoAnn Messina for the GTC to PURA Opposing CL&P’s Enhanced Tree Trimming and Enhanced Tree Removal

I am a member of the Vegetation Management Task Force but speak as Executive Director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy. Over 500 strong, our non-profit group’s mission is to preserve and enhance the tree and forest resources to benefit the community, its health and its quality of life. We write in opposition to the plan of Enhanced Tree Trimming and Enhanced Tree Removal. You have received many letters from our concerned residents.

I participated in the March 5 hearing in New Britain. At the presentation CL&P stated that, “We are in the business to remove trees.” Aren’t they in the business of delivering electrical power? They also answered that “We do not plan to change our program because of tree refusals.” They added that they were going to go after individuals who refused to allow them to cut their trees, if the tree subsequently came down on a wire. When did they become so removed from the citizens they serve?

We know that trees have brought down power lines but the utilities’ data does not show that clearing trees 8’ on both sides of wires, ground to sky, will alleviate those “problem” trees or curtail power outages. In Greenwich, a CL&P town, we have had several outages in the past 18 months, none of which have been due to tree failure but rather to CL&P failure. We have also seen in recent storms that the trees that have felled power lines have come from a distance. How can PURA permit such drastic measures without the data to support them? How can PURA permit CL&P and UI to fail to take into account other community needs and desecrate our towns, which will decrease our health, real estate values and environment?

We agree that reducing the threat from hazardous trees will increase safety and power reliability. The town of Greenwich is entering the 4th year of a 4 year capital campaign to remove hazardous trees. We believe this will result in fewer outages due to trees. We believe CL&P should be removing hazardous trees near the wires and pruning trees in close proximity to wires. We do not believe clear cutting ground to sky will benefit our state. We believe, where appropriate, undergrounding of wires should be seriously considered.

We are so fortunate to have a natural resource that can clean carbon dioxide from our air, reduce flooding, provide constant filtration of air and water pollution, provide wind abatement, support a diverse wildlife and bring aesthetic beauty to our daily lives. We implore the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to refer to the prudent measures of the Vegetation Management Task Force and reject the current proposed plans of CL&P and UI.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

JoAnn Messina, Executive Director
Greenwich Tree Conservancy
50 Church Street
Greenwich, CT 06830

Download the testimony