PG&E Tree Removal Proposal Sparks Angry Response from Eight City Mayors, Including Concord, Clayton, Walnut Creek & Martinez

March 26, 2014 13:25 pm · 92 comments

Mayors from Concord, Walnut Creek, Clayton, Martinez, and four other cities and towns around the East Bay are speaking out against PG&E’s proposal to remove thousands of trees (1,729 local trees) to clear a pathway above its pipeline.

The mayors wrote a letter to PG&E demanding a meeting with the company.

“Because we are entrusted with protecting our respective communities’ values, we, the undersigned mayors and elected officials of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, request a meeting with you immediately to discuss your company’s Pipeline Pathways project”, the letter said.

The letter was signed by the Mayors of Concord, Walnut Creek, Clayton, Martinez, Danville, El Cerrito, Pleasanton and Lafayette.

“We are aware of the access concerns purportedly driving this project, but the project will have significant and irreversible impacts on the character of our communities. The need to meet to discuss the project is urgent, as your company has already been contacting residents in our communities. In pursuing the project, PG&E has indicated a willingness to “work with” local jurisdictions, but it does not do so. Instead, PG&E has declared that the cities and counties must, without exercising any discretion, grant permits and authorizations for PG&E’s tree and vegetation removal activities. PG&E has utterly failed to demonstrate a safety need for this project. The failure makes it appear that the project is driven instead by convenience and cost savings associated with having clear access to the pathways”, the letter said.

“From our view point, that seems an insufficient justification for the great community harm to be caused. If PG&E gets its way, thousands of trees would be removed in the East Bay with virtually no oversight. PG&E’s current posture, beyond being legally incorrect, is unacceptable to the City and the public. PG&E can do better, and we demand it take immediate steps to do so. Our attorneys have informed us that the legal assertions the project is premised upon are incorrect. PG&E does not have the unilateral right under its gas franchise agreements to remove trees in the public right of way. Instead, PG&E needs our authorization to remove such trees. Our attorneys have also concluded, once again directly contrary to PG&E’s assertions, that local tree removal requirements apply to PG&E’s gas pipeline projects. Notably, it has been the experience of many communities in the past that PG&E has complied with tree removal permitting processes”, the Mayors said.

Locally, in the cities around Claycord, PG&E is proposing to remove 734 trees in Walnut Creek, in Concord they are proposing the removal of 730 trees, and in Martinez PG&E is proposing to remove 265 trees and 241 bushes. In Clayton, City Manager Gary Napper tells Claycord.com even though the letter was signed by the Mayor of Clayton, at this time PG&E has no plans to remove any trees within the Clayton City limits.

To view maps of where PG&E is proposing to remove the trees and bushes, please click on the link for each city listed below.

Be sure to view the maps to see if your neighborhood is affected by this plan.

ADDITIONAL READING:

 

{ 92 comments }

1 Disgusting March 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

There is something wrong with a company that thinks it can do whatever it wants. Cutting down these trees will have a horrible impact to our birds and other wildlife and the beauty of our communities. PG&E should be ashamed of itself for being so heartless, unprofessional and uncaring. Disgusting.

2 Micklethepickle March 26, 2014 at 1:44 PM

This is crazy. How many years of lane closures will this create on Ygnacio Valley Blvd and other main thoroughfares? How many man hours and dollars to take down all these trees, excavate, lay pipes and cover?
Does PG&E think that anyone trusts them to lay gas pipes anywhere after San Bruno? Leave our trees and go pound sand, PG&E!

3 ciaobello March 26, 2014 at 1:46 PM

As a treehugger I find the plan abhorrent. Since moving to Concord I’ve known two mature fig trees, a mature persimmon tree, an apricot tree, and a couple other mature trees in yards that were removed. Very sad indeed.

4 anon March 26, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I thought PG&E has easements for it’s utilities. I’ve seen people plant trees or move there fences over easements. Actually I’m surprised they are willing to pay for the relocation or remove of things that shouldn’t be on the easement.

5 East Bay Babe March 26, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Hate to see how you all behave should those trees burn

6 AnotherAnon--------Just wait March 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

sometime down the road, if and when there’s a problem with a gas line, PG&E will come back and blame the communities, because they wouldn’t allow the trees to be removed in order to make the gas line safer.

7 uh1vce160 March 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

What was it PGE did not get that they wanted? Sounds like retaliation for some perceived wrong doing.

8 Silva March 26, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Thank you Mayors and EVERYBODY else for this one.

9 Silva March 26, 2014 at 2:05 PM

#12; It could be.

10 This is what the 2nd Amendment was for March 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Set foot on my property, PG&E, and you’ll quickly find out how I deal with quasi-government agencies that think they can do whatever they want on PRIVATE PROPERTY.

11 Jack March 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM
12 valiii March 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM

They need to at least discuss this and go through channels, please. This is when there are lots of baby birds in the nests.
There is a petition for Walnut Creek residents to sign, sponsored by Mayor Lawson on Change.org:
http://www.change.org/petitions/pacific-gas-electric-company-meet-with-walnut-creek-leaders-residents-immediately-to-discuss-pipeline-pathways-project-proposed-removal-of-735-trees-without-permits-or-oversight?share_id=aSeubvEfaR&utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

13 jena March 26, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Go to change.org and sign the petition

14 KJ March 26, 2014 at 2:33 PM

“RW_V_4407_14
Removal
60 trees
28 brush
Prune 3
Project area includes environmental concern creek. Some trees
and brush are near or in creek.”

Why would PG&E need to “remove” trees in/near a creek? IS PG&E PROPOSING TO PUT A GAS PIPELINE IN/NEAR A CREEK? Does this make sense to anyone?

15 Nicmo March 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Wouldn’t “thousands of trees” be at least two thousand, not 1,729. Just saying. Dislike exaggeration.

16 anonanonagain March 26, 2014 at 2:43 PM

How arrogant of a company to think that they can remove trees at will. Trees are invaluable to our environment. It cools the area down, provides places for birds, squirrels and other indigenous species as well as oxygenates the air.
These corporate suits have no clue and are the epitome of what’s wrong with big businesses. Did we forget their arrogance to the victims in San Bruno??

17 CLAYCORD.com March 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

@Nicmo, Re-read the article.

18 ClayDen March 26, 2014 at 2:52 PM

It looks like local city planning authorities were “asleep at the switch,” incompetent or corrupt when the pipelines were put in place and/or when development was approved over and around them. If the planning and easement process was followed correctly we wouldn’t have this situation.

It looks like everyone loses on this one. If people end up having trees removed, they lose property value and quality of life. If trees are removed from city areas, the beauty of those areas is diminished for all of us. If the trees get removed, PG&E will likely end up raising rates to cover the costs and we all lose. If PG&E ends up having to re-route gas lines, we all lose big time, as this is going to be EXPENSIVE. If rates are artificially kept lower than that required to recoup costs, then PG&E shareholders lose, and this certainly includes a lot of people due to pension and 401k plans being invested in PG&E.

19 KenInConcord March 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

-
KEEP IN MIND!!!

This is not being done because the trees are a threat to the gas line……

THIS IS SO PG&E CAN SAVE MONEY AND INSPECT BY HELICOPTER!!

20 Bird Lover March 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM

This is nesting season. If any trees have to come down (and I hope they don’t), they should at least wait until autumn. As a long-time volunteer in wildlife rehabilitation, I have seen too many times how heartbreaking it is when a nest is cut down.

21 EdiBirsan March 26, 2014 at 3:08 PM

If any homeowner has been contacted by PG&E on the matter of the homeowner’s trees etc relative to a gas line, I would like to hear from them directly:

EdiBirsan@astound.net

22 Reality Slap March 26, 2014 at 3:47 PM

The removal of the trees and shrubs aren’t because the roots can corrupt the lines, it’s because PG&E wants to be able to fly over their lines using detecting equipment and not have anything interfere with this activity; basically it’s a “we want to make this as easy as possible for our company and shareholders, screw the communities”. They will fall back on San Bruno as their excuse for the denuding of the landscape.

23 Reality Slap March 26, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Just wondering what our elected Officials for County and State think about this?

24 HaHaHa ! March 26, 2014 at 3:55 PM

If the red line on the maps is the pipeline, it’s game over ! What are you going to do? Issue 2,000 permits? If you don’t, we’ll have a thousand or two potential ruptures !

I can see it now…. a tree hugger war over every single tree ! LOL

Anything near a pipeline came from a nursery. Replant elsewhere.

25 Lorax March 26, 2014 at 3:58 PM

I speak for the trees for they have no voice of their own. PG&E, please don’t cut us down. Thank you

26 Sandy W March 26, 2014 at 4:04 PM

When you purchase property and a title search is done, if your title is clear doesn’t that mean there are no easements on that title? I would be really angry to have thought I had no easements and then PG&E wants to remove, or trim my trees and vegetation. If there are really large (old) trees in the border areas, isn’t that PG&E’s mistake? They should have been removed when the pipe was installed. If it was beyond the scope of the project while installing the pipe , it should remain out of the scope of future maintenance projects. This would be make sense, so I know that will not happen. Once again we see a large and powerful company behaving in ways that defy common courtesy and respect for communities they serve. Customer service, and concern for the future environmental health would act as good mile markers on PG&E’s road to achieving good citizen status.

27 Gov. Ronald Ray-Gun March 26, 2014 at 4:07 PM

just as I said in 1967…”If You’ve seen one tree You have seen them All!”.

28 KenInConcord March 26, 2014 at 4:41 PM

If there was no waiver or disclosure when any of these property’s were purchased, then there needs to be a negotiation for the impact on property values if shade trees are removed.

This is especially important because the removal is not a safety issue it’s to Save PG&E money during line inspections.

29 Smokey March 26, 2014 at 4:53 PM

I don’t like the idea of losing the trees, but I say cut the trees if it helps PG&E do a better job of inspecting the pipeline. I’ll trade a tree for safety and I’m not willing to see my utility rate go up because someone planted a tree on a pipeline easement. Trees are cut down all the time in the name of progress. Deal with it. New trees will grow in time.

30 Anonymous March 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM

I’d click LIKE on Edi Birsan’s comment at #21. My concern with PG&E’s link for the tree removals in Concord is many of the projects do not list the street name. Just a photo, and the statement, # of trees removed and what specifics needed to do it. On a few of the photos a street name was visible, but many of the photos had no street or address listed. Also what kind of trees slated for removal is not listed with the exception of one business it listed it as having a row of 6 mature redwood trees. I viewed Walnut Creek’s plan for tree removal the other night and it listed every single street and address and it listed what kind of trees, like 2 live oaks, 3 privet, and 4 crape myrtle. Concord’s list is really lacking in information. Walnut Creek’s also showed the pipeline superimposed on the photo and you could see the trees location in relation to the pipeline.

PG&E wants to do helicopter inspections. Really? Well, this isn’t Burger King. You don’t always get it your way PG&E. For the beautification of our city, and for the sake of the birds, and for the sake of the oxygen these trees provide and the much needed shade, and the visual block between residences and commercial properties and freeways I think you need to just get a** up out of the office and walk the damn pipeline and inspect it. Something you obviously have neglected to do in the past 40 to 50 years while all these trees were growing to their mature height. You need to mark the pipelines? Why are they not already marked? How many reading this have a transmission pipeline under their property and never knew it?

Keep in mind the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects these habitats used by the migratory birds. It is illegal to remove or move active nests.

All of this is being requested by PG&E to make their inspections of the pipeline easier. As said on another Claycord post, they won’t stop with trees and bushes. If they come onto your property and see hot tubs, wells, sheds, gazebos, cinder block walls, or other type of wall/fence or even heavy equipment, if it falls within their 5′ of the pipeline, it could be slated for removal as well.

Look at PG&E’s chart. I am not understanding why some trees are being removed or pruned. If it was an overhead electrical transmission line I get it. The distant tree is tall enough to fall on the over head lines. But is the tree really in the way of the underground pipe, which by the way is NOT high pressure like the transmission line in San Bruno.

31 missime March 26, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Clear title doesn’t mean there are no easements. Read your title report. Mine disclosed a PG&E gas easement that runs along the side of my property. I know it is there and any landscaping I have done above it can be removed. There are a couple of trees, but they were they when we purchased the place.

I don’t know if anyone read all the way to the bottom of the Concord list. The last pages deal with where trees can be planted, provides suggestions for trees that would be good to be planted near the easement and provide suggestions for acceptable landscaping on the easement itself.

It would be nice if PG&E would plant replacement trees & landscaping, but I didn’t get the impression that they planned to do that. I got the impression that would be the property owner’s responsibility.

32 Dorothy March 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I hope other cities besides the ones listed will let PG&E have an ear full before they end up being targeted for tree removal too.

33 AnotherAnon--------Apply herbicide, possibly harmful to kids and snimals March 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM

.

34 Triple Canopy March 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM

It must be okay if it’s “In the name of public safety……”. That’s what Democrats say all the time.

Seriously, PG&E should underground the lines.

35 KJ March 26, 2014 at 6:16 PM

PG&E says it has to cut down all those trees and bushes to keep us safe. Sounds like “disaster capitalism.” Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, so we can do what we want and make lots of money.

Were there any trees near where the San Bruno gas pipe broke? Did a tree cause that pipe to break? My recollection is that the cause was a faulty weld that couldn’t stand high pressure.

In all my years, I have never heard of PG&E coming and telling a homeowner or a city that the tree they planted had to be removed because it was near a gas line.

36 Michelle March 26, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Everyone in the city of Concord needs to fight this. We are losing a lot of nature–damn this! We don’t need to be New Your City or the Chicago suburbs.

37 Is PG&E Racist? March 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM

Anyone else see how much better the reports were done for Walnut Creek rather than Concord?

Ten bucks they slacked on the Concord reports because of our greater hispanic population. Why did the white folks over in Walnut Creek get a more detailed report?

38 dave March 26, 2014 at 7:37 PM

First “SMART” meters..
Now our trees!!!
Next—-Our children!!

39 Lake March 26, 2014 at 7:44 PM

The 300 year old tree was here first – move the pipe.

40 Elizabeth Wisenor March 26, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Everything I have read from the cities is about how PG&E needs to compensate them for all the man hours of city time and all the trees/shrubs removed. I have not read one thing regarding the homeowner and how they will be compensated for the total destruction of the pipeline path. I have so have so many “red circles” of removal on my property, a very large corner of my front yard will be entirely removed. Is this my problem now? To figure out what needs to be bought and planted. This is no $200.00 “weekend project” to fix. While the city is rightfully concerned about how they will correct this problem with as little cost to their city budget/pocket book, what entity do I appeal to for help??? Why has not one thing been mentioned about the homeowners rights!

41 Anonymous March 26, 2014 at 8:01 PM

# 37 that is exactly what I was talking about. Walnut Creek’s report was much more informative with exact tree types, the species, the quantity and the address where they are located along with their approximate location in relation to the pipeline. All Concord got for the most part was this many trees removed on this block, or this parcel. Not all projects had addresses listed or street names on the photos. That could have been the roof of my house for I know.

City of Concord, Mr. Birsan, I hope you all are reading this and demand a better accounting of which tree on what exact property including the street address. We citizens of Concord deserve better. We would like to see it too.

42 Connie Dobbs March 26, 2014 at 8:10 PM

#37 Because people in Walnut Creek expect results?

43 lake March 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

It would seem when the trees crews start to violate the local law they should be cited by code enforcement. If they continue arrest them.

44 DanMtz March 26, 2014 at 8:41 PM

I wonder if this is entirely PG&E’s way of transferring liability for future pipe failures on cities. They probably know the cities won’t go for it willingly.

45 Mother Nature March 26, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Save the trees…most took hundred s of years to grow to protect you and provideshade and oxygen for all you ingrates.
A new generation of thoughtless self centered money hungry brainless, thoughtless people who pretend to care. Thanks PG@E … You need to get your act together and protect the environment, not harm it!

46 zippo March 26, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Zoiks, it looks like bout 100 ft from the underground gas tanks at Circle K.

47 Richard March 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM

People need to be educated as to what an easement is. PG&E has the right to clear it’s easement as needed.

48 ragtop March 26, 2014 at 9:58 PM

I live on Ponderosa dr and my property backs the PGE pipe line. About 8 -40 plus, years old trees, are in the easment and many small trees also. The sound wall is along highway 242 is also there. The noise of the cars is awful now and you can,t hear anyone talk back there, so wen they cut the trees down it will be much worse, All the criter that live back there will have to find new homes, towards our yards, We have many birds all year around, What will happen to them? what will replace our wonderfull shade these great big trees have given us for 40 some years? ARE YOU GOING TO REPLACE ALL OF THIS? SO YOU CAN FLY YOUR AIRPLANE DOWN THE PATH IN OUR BACK YARD? This is the time that our city fathers go to batt for us long time property owners

49 Erin Brockvich March 26, 2014 at 10:11 PM

De Ja Vous?

50 ? March 26, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Not one tree in Pleasant Hill will be removed?

51 biggus thinkus March 26, 2014 at 11:04 PM

i got to page 28 of the list, read each, would love to find where the line is in relation to the trees.
i’m on a street due to lose 30+
pissed off? yes. willing to accept it for obvious safety concerns?
absolutely. i dont want to see any of these old (or new) trees to go, and as pointed out above, let alone during nesting season!

52 biggus thinkus March 26, 2014 at 11:14 PM

omg
change that, i’m due to lose over 70+ trees
wow
gotta be on the friggin line, and i’m CERTAINLY telling my neighbors!

53 Why now? March 26, 2014 at 11:47 PM

Where the h*ll has PG&E been all the time these trees were growing, as in DECADES? Why all of a sudden is there this big, expensive project to swing through our cities and buzz down 1,000′s of trees? As the saying goes, “something’s stinkin’ in Denmark.” Suddenly they’re a problem?

54 Shelly March 27, 2014 at 7:21 AM

So… we’re not going to roll over for this? I signed the petition and am willing do be proactive here. This is no time to come in and clear large swaths of the green lifegiving landscapes of our neighborhoods and communities. If we’re able and available we should be at the meetings/hearings. This is not a good idea to save this company a lot of money at our expense.

55 JET March 27, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Gotta love this…. when something terrible happens like the gas line explosion a few yrs ago in San Bruno or wherever it was – everyone jumps on PG&E and blames them for not updating/maintaining the gas lines. On the other extreme, when PG&E tries to propose doing maintenance/improving the safety of these gas lines everyone flips out and doesn’t want the trees removed (which are by the way, typically on an easement…property owners know about this when they buy land, do a simple title search for your land)…. this shouldn’t come as a surprise at all! As much as I love trees and am against them being removed, I am much more interested in safety. You people really need to put things into perspective and look at the bigger picture – this is our safety we’re talking about!

56 Fast Eddie March 27, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Congrats to PG&E for a great job of obfuscation. Bounce around from 242 to Kirker Pass to Ygnacio Valley to North Concord to Sherman Acres so no one can follow the destruction. I looked at each page, and ignored the restoration bs, and found most locations. Most are poorly identified.

Now, the people and businesses who will have trees removed on their west side are in for total devastation. The trees provide shade in the afternoons now, so after they are removed the summer cooling bills will skyrocket. The trees provide wind and sound mitigation. In winter the wind cooling due to a lack of a wind break (even bare branches slow down the wind) will raise heating bills. The back yards will be noisier, and if the houses/offices do not have sound barriers the yards and insides will be noisier. The quality of life will really tank for all who live and work near this project.

Kudos to the one property owner who would not allow Pacific Graft and Extortion Co on his property to survey his property. (Oh yeah, I did pay my PG&E bill with that moniker many years ago and still have the cancelled check.)

57 ale March 27, 2014 at 7:54 AM

The iron horse trail is going to be very unpleasant to use when it no longer has any shade for miles.

58 The Mamba March 27, 2014 at 8:03 AM

LOL, at #37 playing the race card, that’s amazing. I hate PG&E, just the worst.

59 ale March 27, 2014 at 8:29 AM

How exactly do you inspect underground pipelines by plane?

60 2busymom March 27, 2014 at 8:50 AM

In Concord, isn’t a permit required to remove trees of a certain size?

61 Jojo Potato March 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

When you signed the petition all you did was give your personal information to change.org. That corporation will be happy to package your info up and sell it. The “petition” has no legal standing and can just be ignored. Look at how many silly losers put their issues on that site. Don’t you people understand how the internet works? It’s all about gathering personal data and selling it.

62 The Mamba March 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Ale, you fly over them every ten years and declare them “safe” until they blow up a neighborhood.

63 claycordian March 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM

What about those of us who live in unincorporated areas of Concord and Walnut Creek? Are there maps available for those areas as well? Who’s fighting for us?

64 Anonymous March 27, 2014 at 9:47 AM

In just about every city there is a permit required to remove Heritage trees. Trees that are over 42″ in diameter when measured 4.5′ above ground. The permit is free in the city of Concord. The fine for cutting such tree is only $100. PG&E doesn’t care. Not all the trees are heritage trees. So if only 500 of them were, and they cut them without permission, they would receive a $500 fine. No biggee for a corporation as big as them.

My neighbor cut his heritage tree without permission. I called to report it. He did not get fined. I was told that because the tree was already felled they had no way of measuring it at 42″ above ground to prove it was a heritage tree. Measure every single one of those trees right now Concord, just in case they cut without permission. And raise your fine! The city of Dublin has a $5,000 fine per tree, not a measly $100. 3 other neighbors in my neighborhood followed suit and cut their heritage trees down after the one guy did it. They all asked if he got in trouble, what did the city do? When they found out the city of Concord did nothing, they got out the chainsaws.

65 @JET March 27, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Don’t forget how people scream when PG&E raises rates, but now they complain about attempts to save money.

66 NatureGirl March 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM

I find it interesting that there was an article (in the Tribune I think) yesterday about cutting down 700 trees in Walnut Creek, and how people were opposing it…. yet no mention of the 700 tress in Concord. Combined with the difference in maps/graphics in the cities, and it looks like someone thinks that people in Concord aren’t educated or wealthy enough to care.

From what I can tell it doesn’t affect my immediate neighborhood, but does affect several areas around me- and I’m not a fan of all that herbicide being applied either!

67 The Mamba March 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

NatureGirl, Walnut Creek’s Mayor just spoke up first because of outraged citizens. Concord and the others are a day late, but now we’re all here in this together.

68 Skeptic March 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Walnut Creek’s Mayor has been on top of this for a few weeks now, but it impacts most all of Contra Costa County. Get in touch with your City Councils and let them know how this would affect you and your neighbors. Mature trees are an important part of our environment, affecting our air quality, noise abatement and wildlife habitat. There should be an environmental impact report with this plan and it should be extensive. PG&E is running roughshod over our environment.

69 Angrybird March 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Rise up and Save the City! Don’t let PG@E dictate and destroy nature and our Cities.

70 Chronic Halitosis March 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Pipes are excessively over aged and represent a present danger. PG & E has always had the right of way. Just like the fire department.
THEY DON’T NEED YOUR PERMISSION
The people whom want to save the trees. The 8 puppets.
Are you willing to sign on with more than your mouth? If something blows up because of your flower power protest. Are you willing to turn over everything you own to someone who lost everything they own? I didn’t think so. What do you think accountability is? Did you sign the petition? What do you think it doesn’t work both ways? Do an environmental impact of a gas explosion that levels 9 city blocks.

71 CaliMom March 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

If you read the document many of the trees are newly planted. I am happy to hear that PG&E is monitoring this and removing the trees.

How many of you would complain so much louder if your house blew up because of trees planted on top of the gas line in your neighborhood? How exactly do you think the gas gets to your house?

72 tckid March 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

the letter from pge states that if a bird is nesting in the tree they wont take the tree down…lets just get a few hundred birds and build them nests in the trees and put them there so that they cant tear the trees down lol

73 Mee March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM

22 trees on our property and easement . 3 30 plus feet onto our property. One very sentimental, an old olive tree… They will Not remove these trees without a fight. Court, petition, whatever I can do…… I am PISSED OFF.

74 Jojo Potato March 27, 2014 at 4:03 PM

So why did Concord plant trees in the median of Market street that are now marked to be removed?

75 EdiBirsan March 27, 2014 at 4:12 PM

It should be noted that Concord appeared to be the first city in Contra Costa that they pulled this on and when they got pummeled here at City Council they clearly have upped their digital support. There is a fight going on and we may need you all to get involved. We will keep you posted.

EdiBirsan@astound.net

76 Before you complain too much March 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

I think this was handled pretty crapily by PG&E and do think some of it is a shame but before you complain and about trees that have been here for XXX amount of years OPEN GOOGLE EARTH AND LOOK AT THE HISTORICAL IMAGERY FROM 1939!

For example the Rudgear Park section shows 24 trees to be removed, only (maybe)one of those trees even existed 85 years ago.

To the second amendment idiot, do you not realize you had an easement on your property when you bought it? I have a 5′ easement on mine and there’s an oak tree almost encroaching on that easement, no complaints by me, I didn’t blindly sign all my papers when I bought the house, I know there’s a PUE there!

77 Watch the video March 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM

of Concord council mtg with pg&e. For once the council joined together and chewed this guy a new asshole. He was so stupid it was embarrassing to watch him. He couldn’t answer any questions. Go to city website and watch it. PG&E tried to backdoor uninformed citizens and approached them directly to sign off on this without any contact with city…stupid stupid stupid. Concord is the only city to recv awards for it’s tree program.

78 Reality Slap March 27, 2014 at 6:12 PM

For those of you who are complaining that the trees are being removed to save the pipeline from the roots…..you need to get a clue…..the trees and shrubs are being removed so PG&E can fly overhead and have a clear area on each side of their pipeline to use equipment to detect pipeline health. They need 5 feet of clearance on each side so the equipment can zero in on the lines without anomalies popping up. You think that PG&E is going to pay a ground crew to walk the lines with detecting equipment? They put in smart meters so they could eliminate having to pay meter readers on the ground. If flying overhead cost more to maintain the integrity of the lines, you’d have ground crews everywhere. They will use the “clearing the trees and brush will also make the lines safer” as a ploy. If they were worried about the lines and tree roots this issue would have been addressed far sooner than this.

79 ale March 27, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Roots arent going to affect a gas pipeline.

80 Sabria March 27, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Really ale, is that what happened in Santa Barbara?

81 EdiBirsan March 28, 2014 at 12:16 AM

The city had its Arborist go out for three days (at a cost for PGE) and get a better exact handle on what is there. There were many errors on the PGE first reports. I will find out tomorrow if we will be getting a much better updated report.

Edi

82 ptpauly March 28, 2014 at 1:31 AM

Wow, so many politicians agreeing on the same thing. This day must go down in East Bay political history.

83 Same Old March 28, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Sounds like a job for a drone technology
setup and leave the trees where they grow.
Ironic that all this technology has tried to
reduce the use of paper to save the trees
and it has done just the opposite.

84 Wondering? March 28, 2014 at 9:31 AM

As a Walnut Creek resident, have no desire to see our beautiful trees gone. However, do the tree roots really present a danger to the gas pipeline? Or is this just a cost-saving measure to clear trees so less manual labor to inspect pipelines?? If it is just a cost-saving measure, it would be extremely arrogant of PG&E to destroy neighborhood character for the sake of a few bucks. Can anyone address if tree roots present a real danger to the gas pipeline?

85 # 78 Reality Slap March 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I have read your comments before about the fly over inspections done in a helicopter. On the PG&E plans for Concord, which are really lacking in information, there are some photos of open space with no clue to us as to where this open space even is. And it shows removals and one valley oak that needs a severe pruning it says. Would that be then for aerial viewing? As I see no power lines over head near this tree in the photo. Not sure how the canopy of the tree could effect the line below it. I have read nothing from PGE about aerial inspections. Where are you getting this information from? I am pissed. They need to get off their lazy a** and manually walk the route and inspect it. Something they obviously have not done for the past 40 years or more. So they have already saved themselves some 40 years of inspection costs. Aerial would be nice, but when it comes at the cost of what all these cities have to lose the cons just out weigh the pros enormously. Sometimes the easy way just isn’t the right way.

86 To Edi Birsan March 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Has PG&E been asked why the plans for Walnut Creek are so much more informative than the ones for Concord? Some of Concord’s offer no address, or open space is shown with no mention of where this open space is. Some aerial photos from Google do show the street name on the photo so that helps a little, but no thanks to PG&E.

Have they said to the city that this is being done so that they can inspect by means of helicopter or a drone and that’s why the trees need removed or pruned? Are tree roots really a problem? Have they said why trees were allowed to grow to mature height, some 40 years worth of growth and have only now become an issue? Why haven’t they inspected on a regular basis? Catching these trees while they were still young. When people bought these properties shouldn’t the PUE come with restrictions in writing clearly stating what could and could not be planted there. Yes, I know this is closing the barn door after the horses got out, but darn. We are all mad and have questions!

It appears to us that PGE has sat in their offices on their duffs for 40 years and all of the sudden thought, yea we better get to work on that. Have they not looked at these transmission lines and the growth above them in the past 40 years. Why are they all of the sudden a concern? And not a concern 10 years ago? Or 25 years ago? And if this is clearly being done so that they can do over head inspections then I think tuff! It may be the easy way to inspect, and a cost saving way to inspect. But the cost to us living in these cities far out way the savings to PG&E. The loss of beauty, the cooling shade these trees provide in our extreme hot weather, the buffer from wind, and from sound. The visual privacy offered blocking views of neighbors, freeways and large roadways and trails. The cleansing effect the trees have on the air we breathe, the oxygen they provide. The habitat they provide for the migratory nesting birds, and the the tree dwelling ground mammals.

I had an angry neighbor rent a 40′ lift and take a chainsaw to my 50′ deodar cedar tree when I was on vacation because he didn’t like the limbs over his fence. But he reached a good 8′ to 10′ over the fence line and cut the limbs way back within 3 feet of the trunk. Losing so many branches caused me to lose hundreds of dollars of shade plants that were planted beneath the tree. Because the cuts were so severe that I now had a sun garden not a shade garden. This was not only an emotional loss, but an economic loss in the hundreds of dollars from not only plants dying from the sun and the heat, I had to buy replacement plants. PG&E claims they will replace what they cut, but they will not replace an entire garden planted below the tree.

ABC 7 news last night (March 27) did a story about this. They showed a Duck Pond Park in San Lorenzo where trees had already been cut. PG&E took out 69 mature eucalyptus, privet, bottlebrush and pine trees. They left a bare strip of dirt. Yes dirt. This is a park. It looked like it had been strip mined. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25298218/san-lorenzo-pg-e-cuts-down-dozens-trees

Are you aware that if a nest is found in a tree that work within 50′ of that tree should be halted? The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects these birds. Yes, having an arborist with PGE looking for nests will help. But what about having someone from Fish and Game? An arborist is a tree person, what about having an ornithologist?

Many species nest between March 1 and August 31. PG&E wants to start cutting in May and be done by August! Prime nesting season! California Department of Fish and Game often requires surveys for raptors from January 15 to September 15. But nesting birds, especially hummingbirds, hawks and owls, may be found at any time of year, depending on the species. However there are several species that court and nest outside this time frame, for example, some herons and egrets, many raptors (birds of prey), and most hummingbirds. Consult an independent qualified biologist for safe trimming times upon discovering any large nest.*
*NOTE: Certain species such as hawks, owls, herons, egrets, crows, and ravens also often re-use nests. If a large nest made of twigs is encountered, even if unoccupied, assume that it belongs to one of these birds and do not disturb it.

Why should we care about protecting birds’ nests?
First and foremost, it is the law. Second, birds provide numerous beneficial activities, such as eating many thousands of insect pests, which may eliminate some of the need for toxic pesticides. They also disperse seeds over wide areas, ensuring plant health and biodiversity. Finally, many bird populations nationwide are plummeting primarily due to the impact of human activities. Birds are creatures of the earth, a family of animals with which we share this planet and its limited resources. Our positive, cumulative actions can make the difference in ensuring their long-term survival.

Mr. Birsan, please keep us informed. Please keep reading this blog and let us know when and how we the public can help you in this effort. If it is purely a matter of making inspections easier done by air, I personally feel the cost is too great and far out weighs the benefit to PG&E, not that they will think so.

87 Facts March 28, 2014 at 11:02 PM

PG&E is trying to frame this as a safety issue, but the reality is that the reason they want to clear out the vegetation along the pipeline pathway is so they can use helicopters, not ground crews, to inspect for leaks. This is a FACT. I called the office of PG&E president Anthony Early, Jr. I left a message and surprisingly was given a call back the next day. I spoke with his community relations staffer. She confirmed that the infrared sensors they use for arial surveillance don’t work very well through the tree canopy. I asked whether instead of cutting down trees along the pipeline they could instead invest in further developing the technology that would allow them to accurately sniff out leaks through the existing tree canopies. She replied that wasn’t possible because they had already spent millions of dollars on state of the art aerial surveillance technology and it can’t be done with the trees in the way. This admission was revealing for two reasons: 1)They have a sunk cost to deal with…they have already made the investment in the infrared technology and are trying to recoup some of the cost of that investment. 2) The real motive behind the tree cutting is not integrity of the lines, it’s expediency and profit. Trees are not a hazard to the pipeline, they are a hazard to the profitability of the arial surveillance program in which PG&E has already invested millions of dollars. That doesn’t NOT provide adequate justification for clear cutting a swath through our cities!!!

88 @ Facts March 29, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful insight. I think on behalf of the communities involved, if there is not a real safety danger to the pipeline from the tree removal, then a loss on the aerial surveillance technology is not a good justification for the wholesale damage to our cities due to the tree removal. PG&E may lose millions on this (which will of course be passed on to the consumers) but they also won’t have the tree removal costs which could help offset the loss. Sorry PG&E, you aren’t getting your aerial surveillance at the cost of our trees…the City is called Walnut Creek for a reason.

89 Anonymous March 29, 2014 at 9:05 PM

I sure hope the city of Concord, and Walnut Creek are reading this! Thank you Facts!

90 Kathy March 31, 2014 at 11:35 PM

It’s not a matter of the existing roots encroaching on the pipelines, I can assure you of that. PG&E has already come to survey our backyard in Walnut Creek. They want to cut down 4 Redwoods, an apple tree, and lots of bushes. They told my husband they would cut down the trees and grind the stumps to prevent roots from growing further, but they would NOT be removing any roots.

91 EdiBirsan April 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM

While there is all sorts of action by cities on the issue of cutting down our trees on PUBLIC land and right of way, PGE is still going very active on the private property owners claiming agreement with 141 out of 151 home owners to cut their trees and have their structures moved/destroyed.

However, these private agreements were before the publicity and the more in depth information behind the move and the alternatives that can be considered as well as the scope of effects on neighborhoods, property values and the simple rights of the owner to say no.

Per a PGE spokesman, if you have agreed to have them alter your landscape and now want to reconsider, you should immediately contact PGE to halt their on going cutting of private trees from their initial push.

Edi

92 concordnativeE April 2, 2014 at 7:33 PM

I live I concord…what can I do to stop this from happening

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