County officials urge PG&E to tread lightly in tree removal

  • PG&E has cleared about 10 trees a year under high tension power lines at Safari West, but this past year they cleared 80 trees.

Sonoma County officials are urging PG&E to tread lightly when removing trees and brush in regional parks and open space district lands that are crossed by the utility's high-voltage power lines.

"The safety and reliability of the transmission lines are the Number 1 priority, but I also believe that PG&E plans must mitigate the environmental impact this will bring forward for years to come," said Supervisor Mike McGuire.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will ask PG&E to agree to remove trees only as a last resort, replace trees that are removed, develop erosion measures, guard against invasive plants and work with state agencies when working around waterways.

PG&E is half way through a two-year Transmission Vegetation Management Plan to remove brush and trees and trim trees along high-voltage lines that stretch 39 miles from The Geysers to Petaluma.

The program is essential to removing any hazard that could cause the transmission lines to fall and create a power outage that would have a wide-scale impact.

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