Friday, December 4, 2009

Trees Fall Prey - Hudson Independent December 2009

Read the article by Barrett Seaman on the front page of the Hudson Independent December 2009 issue. The article concludes with the following advanced warning for other municipalities in our region:

"All these issues will doubtless rise anew in other towns and villages throughout the county as the Asplundh crews move on to Larchmont, Harrison, Ossining, White Plains, Pleasantville, Greenburgh and Yonkers."

Along with this article, the paper carried this editorial:

Massacre of Trees by Con Ed Must Be Stopped
NOVEMBER 29 2009

Fighting City Hall has traditionally been viewed as a losing battle. So, too, has been duking it out with such established entities as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Cablevision and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Also in that category is Con Edison, which has a monopoly to deliver power in the region and seems able to raise rates at the blink of a light switch. The utility apparently also believes it has the green light to dismember healthy, vibrant trees whenever it pleases. In early November, Con Edison’s contractors ran roughshod through Irvington, carving up beautiful, two-century-old trees like helpless turkeys at a Thanksgiving meal. It was so nerve-racking that in a noble effort to minimize the damage, residents in the village held a vigil to watch over Con Edison’s hired guns. But this is nothing new for Con Edison. Many other communities have had similar nightmarish experiences, with most complaints falling on deaf ears, just as limbs have been falling from helpless trees along Con Edison’s damaging path.

Con Edison has argued the work is necessary to remove potentially dangerous branches and tree limbs from power lines. In many instances that is the case, and Con Ed has made some concessions, but there is an unmistakable logic that the utility has abused its authority and demonstrated a lack of understanding and compassion to the importance of trees to the overall character of municipalities in the rivertowns and elsewhere.

Something has to be done to slow down the massacre. You can lodge complaints with the Public Service Commission (1-800-342-3377 or , the state Department of Environmental Protection and elected representatives at all levels. A barrage of complaints when warranted directed at Con Edison via phone call, e-mail and letter can help..

There is always strength in numbers. But don’t hesitate. Too many priceless trees have been victimized already.

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