Walnut Creek Council Expected to Approve Agreement with PG&E Regarding Tree Removal

July 15, 2014 8:00 am · 14 comments


As we previously reported, PG&E is proposing to remove 734 trees in Walnut Creek (1,729 trees locally) to clear a pathway above its pipeline.

Local cities, including Walnut Creek, are working with PG&E to try and save some of the trees marked for removal.

Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson gave us an update on their negotiations with PG&E, saying the City Council will consider approving a framework agreement with PG&E during tonight’s City Council meeting.

The following information is from Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson:

I am pleased to announce that at the July 15, 2014 regular meeting of the Walnut Creek City Council, the City Council will be considering approving a framework agreement with PG&E that will outline PG&E’s commitments to the City in connection with its proposed Pipeline Pathways project. The City Council will consider the agreement at its 7:00 p.m. meeting, and PG&E executives will be present to address the City Council.

Thank you for the work you all have done to get us to this point. I am optimistic that by putting a framework agreement in place, the City and PG&E can begin to work more cooperatively on all issues of community concern while keeping the community safe. I encourage you to attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

The agenda for the meeting and a draft of the agreement and supporting documents are available HERE.

The proposed agreement confirms the City’s and PG&E’s commitment to maintaining gas pipeline integrity and safety and to the importance of trees and landscaping to our community character.

PG&E also commits in the proposed agreement to:

1. reevaluate all trees initially proposed for removal, upon request by an agency, and only propose the removal of trees for which data supports safety concerns, all with a goal of reducing the number of trees proposed for removal;
2. complying with ministerial encroachment permit procedures and requirements;
3. identify trees protected by local tree protection ordinances;
4. mitigate for protected tree removals as mutually agreed by the agency and PG&E;
5. pay for the costs associated with agency evaluation of work, including third party arborists and other consultant and staff time as agreed by the agency and PG&E;
6. evaluate various specified mitigation measures that could potentially avoid the need for tree removals;
7. provide detailed data, as specified, to allow the agencies to evaluate and understand the project; and
8. conduct field reviews with the agency.

The proposed agreement does not resolve the dispute between the City and PG&E over whether PG&E is subject to local tree removal ordinances. Instead, the agreement is designed to develop a framework for limiting the number of trees required for removal and to develop information for the City to carefully consider PG&E’s tree removal requests. City staff and PG&E acknowledge that there may eventually be disputes over PG&E’s right to remove individual trees. If such a dispute were to arise, the City or PG&E could seek legal or regulatory remedies at that time.

Thank you again for all of your support, phone calls, and emails over the past several months – they made a real difference! Once again, Walnut Creek residents and our partners and friends across the region came together to protect the community character we all cherish so much.

I hope to see you at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Feel free to email me anytime (kristina.d.lawson@gmail.com) or call me ((925) 708-7544) with any comments, questions, or input.

My very best regards,
Mayor Kristina Lawson

Greg P. July 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

To anyone complaining about the tree removal in Walnut Creek, Concord, etc – did you pay attention to the disclosures when you purchased your property? They clearly show that if you purchase a property with a PG&E easement, they are allowed to remove trees and use THEIR easement at will.

Why is this such a surprise and outrage to everyone? Ridiculous. If you don’t like it, don’t buy property with a PG&E easement folks.

Karma July 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

The beauty of Northern California is the trees… Please keep that in mind PG@E

George July 15, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I believe I would be more concerned with the REMOVAL of some of the trees rupturing lines. In the words of John Lennon…”Let it be”

RANDOM TASK July 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

@1 well in demifornia you are not held accountable for your actions you get to scream and yell because you messed up

Z-Man July 15, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Oh, lets keep this protected tree… Why does it matter if it ruptures a 7 inch gas line… At least the tree is safe.

Allow the utility to do what they agreed to do. It appears they want to maintain their easement, let them get to work. I want my electricity and gas service…. thank you very much.

Big Weeds July 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Most of the trees planted around here are nothing but big weeds and tedius.

Look around and see how filthy they are.

They’re fine in country. And in there natural habitats.

And, if you disagree, may a giant oak or eucalyptus fall thru your roof.

BTW…keep your dang leaves out of my yard.

Tree huggers are idiots.

Plant clean, smaller trees in your yards.
And cut them down ever 24 years…so you won’t be subjected to “heritage” laws.

Mother of 3 July 15, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Soooo then nothing actually got accomplished and the trees are still being removed? Does anyone really think PG& E wont come up with some reason to remove all the trees they originally planned to remove? All this did was slow them down a bit and now they have to show a reason for each tree..Which of course they will. Seems like the Mayor started to take them on, then once again, a political figure got trampled with how big they are and PG & E gets to do whatever they want…again…Sad. I grew up in Walnut Creek and have wonderful memories of the trees in my neighborhood, around town and at the parks. Lets just get it all over with people, rip down every tree, put up strip malls on every corner and apartment buildings as far as they eye can see. How ugly Walnut Creek is going to be in the next 20 years.

I think this proposed agreement July 15, 2014 at 2:23 PM

does nothing more than force PG&E rate payers to pay for Walnut Creeks administrative fees overseeing and rubber stamp this project. I did not see any verbiage that deterred PG&E from completing any part of its original proposal.

They, the Walnut Creek City Council, just added another layer of management to cover the Council’s butt when people realize the how they have been racked over the coals yet once again.

Free Gas & Electric for Life Contest July 15, 2014 at 3:12 PM

To: Kristina Lawson
From: PG&E

Congratulations! You have been selected as a finalist in our Free Gas & Electric for Life Contest. The final selection will be made tomorrow.

Good Luck

Gov. Ronald RayGuns July 15, 2014 at 3:34 PM

‘If You have seen one tree you have seen them all”…Gov. RayGuns 1966

Julio July 15, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Do not trust them for one minute. They have proven they are weasels and do not keep their word. Good luck to all of us, they are doing this all over California.

Atticus Thraxx July 15, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Truer words were never written on these pages Julio. As far as I’m concerned they resemble a criminal organization more than a utility.

Concord July 15, 2014 at 9:36 PM

agree. I can’t believe the inside politics going on at PGandE either; they work against each other and the customer suffers.

J. July 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

P-igs, G-oats, and E-lephants.

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