Walnut Creek City officials met with PG&E on Friday to seek assurances that PG&E will not move forward with its Pipeline Pathways plan to remove more than 735 trees in Walnut Creek until the City and the utility company investigate alternatives and reach an understanding regarding legal and environmental concerns.
PG&E agreed not to remove any trees until an agreement was reached. However, the utility company indicated it will continue to contact private property owners to seek removal of structures that are on or near the pipeline. At Friday’s meeting, PG&E officials agreed to provide the City with a list of structures it is seeking to remove.
Mayor Kristina Lawson called the meeting a positive first step, but noted there are many issues to be resolved. “We continue to believe there are better ways to protect the community than arbitrarily chopping down trees and we ask PG&E to review every option, up to, and including, moving the pipeline,” said Lawson.
At issue is PG&E’s Pipeline Pathways program, which calls for removal of all trees, structures and some vegetation along the length of it 6,750‐mile natural gas transmission pipeline. A clear pathway above the pipeline will allow the utility to better maintain, inspect and safely operate the system, according to an Information Sheet from PG&E.
City officials say PG&E has not proven that the trees pose a danger to the pipeline, and need to, at a minimum, follow local permitting regulations.
At Friday’s meeting, the City asked PG&E to:
- Sign an interim agreement that PG&E will refrain from any tree removal activities, including communications with property owners relating to tree removal, within Walnut Creek. The only exception is if a tree poses an imminent, documented threat to PG&E facilities.
- Comply with City permitting requirements and applicable environmental regulations
- Work with the City’s arborist to inspect each tree earmarked for removal and evaluate whether the tree does, in fact, pose any danger to the pipeline.
PG&E officials said they will review the agreement over the next several days. In addition, PG&E said it would meet with City representatives to further discuss permitting requirements.
PG&E also agreed to hold community meetings about the Pipeline Pathways program at a future date.
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.
- CONCORD – 730 trees
- WALNUT CREEK – 734 trees
- MARTINEZ – (scroll to page #4) – 265 trees & 241 bushes