CHOPGATE UPDATE: City of Concord Says PG&E Still Plans to Chop Down Trees on Private Land

April 4, 2014 10:19 am · 29 comments

City of Concord

Earlier today, we published a story on Claycord saying PG&E was temporarily suspending a plan to cut down thousands of trees over its gas pipeline until company officials are able to meet with city leaders from Walnut Creek, Concord & Martinez, and explore alternatives.

Although both websites for the City of Concord & Walnut Creek say PG&E has suspended the plans, one Concord City Councilman says that’s not the entire story.

“The current position of PG&E in Concord is that they are holding off on PUBLIC lands but are going full speed ahead on private owners. They have secured *according to their spokesman on Monday, an agreement with 141 out of 151 property owners to chop down their trees etc. (In fact according to one relayed message they cut down the wrong tree in one case)”, according to Concord City Councilman Edi Birsan.

“They are pushing ahead on these and have been using some questionable scare and power play tactics”, Birsan said.

“According to the spokesman, if you have a prior agreement and you are having second thoughts….as I would urge ALL to do, notify them that you have reconsidered their proposal and reject it so that you can be more aware of the circumstances and the alternatives to tree cutting that really do exist”, Birsan said.

“There are also property values and community benefits that should be considered here which is one reason we have a tree ordinance in the first place”, according to Birsan.

On Thursday, Concord Mayor Tim Grayson sent out a message to Concord residents, saying “You may have heard on the news that PG&E wants to cut down 730 trees in Concord (3,000 trees in Contra Costa County) without notice to the City of Concord or private citizens.  What happened in San Bruno was a welding issue, not a root problem – Concord citizens shouldn’t be penalized by losing the beautiful trees on their property. We have started legal proceedings to stop PG&E.  If a representative of PG&E knocks on your door, you do not have to let them into your backyard.  Please tell the representative that you received this email from the Mayor and feel free to email or call me if there is a problem. Thank you, Tim Grayson, Mayor of Concord,

The City of Concord has also placed an item on the agenda for Tuesday night’s Concord City Council meeting, demanding that PG&E refrain from all tree removal activities in the City of Concord until certain conditions have been met.


Random Task April 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM

wow all you bleeding heart dems voted for your candidates and yet you are ok to let them kill thousands of trees ……always knew your agenda was for your selves …….dem is dem does

What security April 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM

We could always go down there and tie ourselves to it,.
What next cut down all the trees because the oil pipe line needs to run through your back yard.

Angelface April 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Thank you VERY much Mayor Grayson!

VikingPrincess April 4, 2014 at 10:44 AM

This is a good one. Send out emails to CoCoCounty residents and get the word out. Save the trees…stay green 😉

DZL April 4, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Randon Task – you’re an idiot and I just wasted 30 seconds of my life responding to your stupidity.

Paul Bunyan April 4, 2014 at 10:57 AM

I have a big tree in my yard that I wish they would cut down. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll do it by mistake.

c4studio April 4, 2014 at 10:57 AM

drive down contra costa blvd in PH – they have already cut down numerous trees as of today along the west side of the street along the residential backyards
those folks will really miss the shade this summer – and their energy costs will be increased as a result

@Radom Task April 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM

You are spot on. This should be fun to watch !

Howdy April 4, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The PG&E “feel good” commercials on TV make sense now. : )

Michelle April 4, 2014 at 11:17 AM

The pg&e feel good commercials never make sense.

And we are all paying April 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM

for all of the feel good commercials, and every tree chopped down, every legal argument and the proposed new scanning system.

We are getting hit on both sides, paying and paying and getting what? More rate increases.

CHOPGATE!! April 4, 2014 at 11:36 AM

My that’s off to whoever came up with that headliner!

Mimi (original) April 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Hey Paul Bunyan! I wonder if we can REQUEST that a tree or trees be cut down (at PG&E’s expense)?? I have one in the dead center of my back yard that is now 6 trunks and about 4 stories high and to even get the darned thing trimmed would run me about $1,000, w-a-y out of my budget!!

Captain Bebops April 4, 2014 at 12:36 PM

The last couple of days I’ve seen someone with a tablet and wearing a safety vest in the neighborhood making notes about trees. Probably someone PG&E hired to do a list of bad trees. I don’t have anything that would be a problem but the neighbors do. In fact I think PG&E would be doing them a favor as the other neighbors feel their tall fir should be removed before it falls on their (or my) house but they apparently can’t afford the removal.

Sorry pge, not here. April 4, 2014 at 12:47 PM

They have three trees marked on our property, and NO WAY> Sorry pge, not here. They will not be allowed on the property with any chain saws or tree trucks, be them a tree service or other, and these three trees will NOT be cut down. My mom is 79 and sat under an olive tree they want to cut down with her grandfather in the 30’s, and said she will chain herself to it if they try. She is not kidding either. PGE is out of luck here…

nvsblmn April 4, 2014 at 1:08 PM

You know I can’t believe how foolish a lot of people are. A lot of these pipelines need to be replaced but even then to run tests, xray tests or the like the roots need to be removed to provide a clear picture to ensure the integrity of the tests. Yeah it sucks, but as tragedy in the past has proved it needs to be done. better safe than sorry in my opinion. But if people are willing to risk their lives then so be it. Just don’t cry later when another pipe goes. Won’t be able to say why didn’t PGE do anything after you stopped from being able to do preventive tests.

PC April 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I would like to know why PGandE has been allowed to have power poles remain along Concord Blvd. two years after a street widening project. These poles are a safety hazard as well as a contributing factor to the morning and evening commute bottle-neck that exists between Farm Bureau and 6th St.

Elwood April 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Just a further reminder, as if any were needed, that the only thing Pacific Graft and Extortion gives a **** about is the almighty dollar on their bottom line.

**** the public.

RIII April 4, 2014 at 2:03 PM

It appears as though PG&E can do no right. If they fail to maintain their pipelines they are wrong. If they attempt to survey and maintain a buried pipeline that requires the removal of some trees, they are wrong again. Where were these precious trees when all these pipes were buried? Isn’t it the same thing when they clear trees out of their power lines? How else would they maintain their equipment? And, how else can they deliver their product to us?

@19 April 4, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Take your common sense and go home. That stuff has no place here.

ICK April 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM

PG&E is sure good at making friends. Cutting down the trees will mean that their jobs will be easier–they don’t have to work so hard or put in as much effort. It’s really sad when we constantly have to watch out for ourselves because those in charge have to be so irresponsible. PG&G is very irresponsible. They hid the fact that they can and will do what ever they feel like on PRIVATE property. They must suppose that the private citizen doesn’t count for much so they do whatever they wish to us. Really disgusting.

Vandy April 4, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Cutting trees that directly affect the integrity of the pipeline makes sense to me. But cutting trees purely for the convenience of aerial inspection seems excessive and damaging to the community for the loss of trees. As a Concord resident who doesn’t have trees in the cut list I have to say that I’d be willing to pay a higher rate for my own energy so that trees elsewhere can be saved from cutting-for-convenience. PG&E has demonstrated an inability to be trusted time and time again. So the city and homeowners need to keep a close watch.

Anon April 4, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Cops get free medical & free psych– he had options……….. deal with the reality of it all

The talk about all his arrests– that is what is got paid for
Now look where he is

anon April 4, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I agree with you. After a few people hit the poles and die PG&E will then move the poles.

WCMama April 4, 2014 at 6:58 PM

@nvsblmn This tree cutting project has NOTHING to do with preventing damage to pipelines from tree roots. The director of the Pipelines Pathway project, Ivan Altamura, has suggested that tree roots growing around or near a pipeline could conceivably make it harder for crews to access a detected leak. (Because they’d have to remove the roots to access the leak.) He doesn’t even dare put forward the idea that tree roots themselves could cause leaks, because he knows that’s not true. So he posits this theoretical impediment to access posed by tree roots but keep in mind they aren’t planning to remove existing roots. Heck, they aren’t even stump grinding, they are just cutting down the trees. Which exposes the illogic of that argument…and reveals their true motive: to make aerial access possible and profitable. Aerial access isn’t “better” in terms of being more accurate it’s just faster and cheaper. Will that cost savings be passed on to us the rate payers? Oh, don’t make me laugh.

KJ April 4, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Are we going to have PG&E drones flying over our cities? Is this what it’s all about? New “whiz-bang” technology that costs a lot, doesn’t do near as good a job as a living, breathing human on the street, but makes loads of money for some Wall Street hedge fund or defense contractor.

We need trees. We do not need aerial surveillance.

KJ April 4, 2014 at 9:05 PM

Before anyone gets on my case for thinking that PG&E wants to fly drones over our cities, read this:

That is exactly what they are doing.

I agree with Baxter who commented to the above article: “Helicopter surveillance for natural gas transmission pipelines is merely a precautionary method. It cannot detect the actual physical condition or defects of the pipes; or detect some leaks. This can only be done through underground in-line inspection.”

Theresa April 5, 2014 at 8:06 AM

@Random Talk. So you blame this on the dems? How funny as earlier in Claycord someone was blaming the call to save the trees on the “liberal, whiny dems.” You might think you are “right”, but that just makes you so wrong. To paraphrase what you said Random Talk: “always knew your agenda was for your selves…” the anti-dems always twisting the story to make it look better for themselves, even while talking out of both ends.

Someone who loves trees

ChampagneKitty April 8, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Who watched the Concord City Council meeting tonight? O M frickin’ G…I watched it from home and this tree chopping project was discussed. If you didn’t see it, you need to go to the city website and watch; it was during the consent calendar section. They discussed item 3D which was to pass a resolution demanding that PG&E refrain from all tree removal activities in the city of Concord until certain conditions have been met.

A lady from PG&E was there and of course spoke out against the resolution. All 5 councilmembers let her have it and was quite clear about their concerns about this. What really makes my blood boil is that the PG&E lady tried to turn the tables on the council regarding the private homeowners whose trees the company has been aggressively going after. They are claiming that some of those homeowners WANT their trees to be removed and ASKED PG&E to yes, please, remove those trees and of course PG&E made agreements with those people to do so. So far be it from PG&E to deny them the service they agreed to. So the lady tried to put the burden on the city of Concord to explain to those homeowners why PG&E wouldn’t be “allowed” to do this. The lady asked the council if that is what they want to see happen and they all said YES! And then the lady suggested that the city should work with PG&E to explain to those homeowners. So in other words, she tried to paint PG&E as the victim and the city as the bad guys. I could not believe the nerve of this lady. Now every councilmember had something to say but at that point, Edi spoke up and said no problem, gives us a list of those people and we can easily contact them, we’ve all had experience working phone banks. The message I got out of that was, “PG&E, we are not going to let you intimidate the city of Concord.” And they proceeded to pass the resolution unanimously.

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