PG&E to hold meeting on big Sonoma County tree-cutting plan

PG&E officials will host a community meeting Thursday to address concerns from landowners that a revamped maintenance plan will mean cutting down thousands of trees in a 39-mile stretch of high voltage lines through Sonoma County.

The plan has come under criticism in recent weeks as landowners have discovered in some cases hundreds of trees marked with tell-tale blue paint that PG&E said means the trees are targeted not for pruning, but removal.

PG&E officials said the move is spurred in part by federal regulations that have increased penalties for outages and other incidents. But homeowners called for a meeting to hear why a decades-old strategy of pruning and select removal is seemingly being abandoned.

"PG&E has not really been open and not really been honest, I think, about the plans," said Tom Birdsall, who has owned 41 acres on Sonoma Mountain Road for the past decade.

In that time, PG&E has successfully pruned growth on his property three or four times without issue, Birdsall said.

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