Thursday, April 1, 2010

Media Coverage - update

Bloomberg News released a report on the clear cutting situation in Westchester. Read the March 31,2010 posting entitled "Powers Lines Replace Pines as Tree Cuts Wreck Westchester Views" by Elizabeth Stanton.

For another take - Con Ed's official line - can be read in the Journal News Opinion section online at: http://www.lohud.com/article/20100401/OPINION/4010338/1015/OPINION01/Con-Edison-s-tree-cutting-is-necessary-to-reduce-power-outages. In this piece, John Banks, VP of Government Affairs, tows the party line about tree removal. Unfortunately, he also blithely mixes issues relating to transmission lines and distribution lines, thereby helping to continue to confuse public understanding and debate about the issues.

A comment posted by one reader states it clearly:

The public needs to remember that Mr. Banks is essentailly a public relations person for Con Edison. It is not unusual for Con Ed's PR folk to blur the issues. Transmission line issues differ significantly from distribution line issues. The distribution lines are where the outages are occurring. Very isolated events can occur infrequently on the transmssion lines due to acts of God such as a tornado or the recent severe storm. That does not justify the extent of environmental damage done by Con Ed in Westchester on the tranmission lines. Tens of thousands of non-threatening trees and bushes were removed because it was cheapest in the long run for Con Ed. It was done with the blessing of the PSC which is skewed in favor of utilties. The big problem now is to get Con Ed to correct all the damage that it has been caused by the transmssion line clear cutting. Con Ed has many more distribution line problems including old poorly maintained lines and equipment that fail in storms.



Charlie Spiegel of Yonkers wrote this letter to Con Ed's John Banks after attending the Yonkers public meeting last week (Thursday, March 25, 2010)... In it, he asks a lot of important questions including asking for more data and querying about the criteria used to define "priority zones" and "incompatible species" of trees. This is a big pdf file (1.4Mb) so it will load a little slowly. It contains his original attachments referenced during the Thursday meeting, as well.

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