Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NY Assembly Passes Hydro-Fracking Moratorium

By a wide margin, the Assembly passed a bill that will suspend the issuance of permits to hydro-frack gas wells in New York State until May 15, 2011. The State Senate passed the bill earlier this year. It is now up to Governor Paterson to sign the timeout into law.

From an eblast received today:

Today the New York State Assembly approved a moratorium on gas drilling in New York State, a huge victory for those of us who have been fighting so hard to protect our drinking water from toxic chemicals.

Protecting New York’s environment is at the top of our agenda in the Assembly Majority and we will not let anything stand in the way of making sure all New Yorkers have clean, safe water. When it comes to keeping pollution and dangerous chemicals out of our water supply, there is simply no acceptable level of risk.

That is why my colleagues and I resisted pressure from the oil and gas industry and passed this crucial moratorium, which would prohibit the controversial process known as hydrofracking while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a safety review.

Our most important responsibility is to keep all New Yorkers safe. By preventing hydrofracking from moving ahead, we have not only protected our water supply today, we have served notice to the industry that we will always put the health and safety of New Yorkers first.

I want to thank everyone who expressed support for this bill and I want to assure you that the Assembly is committed to leaving a safer, greener, more sustainable world for future generations.

Sheldon Silver

Monday, November 29, 2010

County Stormwater / Flood Management Legislation - Public Hearing

Stormwater legislation has been approved for a public hearing on Mon., December 6 at 7:30 pm at Board of Legislators' offices in White Plains (148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor).

The legislation is available for download here as a .pdf file. Select the link on the BOL page to the version marked "FINAL."

All interested persons are welcome to provide comment at the public hearing.

County Exec Astorino to Hold Budget Meeting Tonight

2011 Budget meeting tonight - email alert from CCE:

County Executive Rob Astorino will be holding a meeting on Monday night, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. at 6:30 p.m in the Fellowship Hall at St. Matthews. The church is located at 382 Cantitoe St. in Bedford. The talk is being hosted by the Bedford/Armonk Rotary Club.

Mr. Astorino will be there to answer questions about the 2011 Budget. The meeting is open to the public and anyone can attend. This would be a good opportunity to make your thoughts known and to dispel misconceptions about Cornell University funding CCE Westchester. Cornell only provides in-kind services of faculty and staff; it does not provide cash to the county extension offices.

In County Law 224, the state established Cornell as the “agent for the state, for the cooperative management of said work of the county extension service association and the proper supervision of the professional staff employed therefor.” County Law 224 also says that in order to qualify for state funding, a county extension office must first have an appropriation from the county treasury.

It is important to go and confront Mr. Astorino on his budget cutbacks - especially to the Cooperative Extension program.


From a previous email - background info on CCE as a non-profit (or not):

Cornell Cooperative Extension is a public, "subordinate governmental agency" established by state statute and as such has requirements that are the same as any village, town, county, city, etc. in New York State including record-keeping and document retention, election of governing body members, open public meetings law, public agency purchasing, and many other limitations that government agencies must follow. Non-profits are private organizations, not publicly owned. CCE is a public organization intended to be supported by taxpayer dollars via government appropriations.

Because CCE is the only entity of its type in New York State, some people mistake CCE for a non-profit. While it is true that CCE does not make any profit, neither does any county, city, town, village, or other governmental agency.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Governor Says Hydro-Fracking Will Not Go Forward At This TIme

From the Catskill Mountainkeeper group:


Governor Paterson
"At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time." Governor David Paterson: Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yesterday on WAMC Radio, Governor Paterson admitted that he is no longer convinced that fracking is safe and that as a result of all of our hard work - fracking will not go forward at this time.

Here is the full quote:
"This is a very good example of public participation. Our DEC...originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect thewater quality in the area but we've received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea. Even with the tremendous revenues that will come in at this time...we're not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage. At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time."

Listen the full interview at:

This is an amazing David vs. Goliath victory for all of the volunteer groups, environmental organizations, land owners, business owners, farmers and the many thousands of individuals who have taken action.

We still need to Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York Assembly to pass the Moratorium Bill and the Water Withdrawal Bill on Monday during the Extraordinary Session called by Paterson. All indications are that Silver wants to move these bills but he needs to hear from you. Take action by contacting your Assemblyperson by clicking here and filling out this simple email form provided by our partner "Clean Water Not Dirty Drilling".

Thank you again from the Mountainkeeper team.
Ramsay, Wes, Aaron and Beth

Thursday, November 18, 2010

5 Things to Do to Offer Wildlife Support This Winter

1) Provide winter fuel for wildlife with native plants that offer nuts, berries and seeds or offer a feeder.

2) Anchor your old holiday tree in a secluded part of your yard for wildlife to use as shelter from harsh weather.

3) Start a compost pile of needles, pinecones and wreaths made from natural material from your holiday decorations to provide additional cover for wildlife.

4) Clean and fill your birdbath on a regular basis. If you live in an area where temperatures freeze water, use a birdbath heater as a simple way to keep water accessible.

5) Create a cozy winter home for birds. Clean out your spring nest boxes or provide a warm winter roosting box. Also, evidence shows roosting birds prefer winter homes placed up high — about 10 feet or more.


Got what it takes? Register your yard as a Wildlife Habitat™ site via National Wildlife Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/yf7sjwh

BOL 2011 Budget Hearings - Last Night in Yonkers

Here is the statement (.pdf) I made last night at the BOL public hearing on the 2011 budget in support of environmental planning department staffing and in support of the Westchester CCE.

The auditorium was packed for most of the 3 1/2 hour session with 9 Legislators in attendance on stage and over 100 speakers scheduled to present 3 minute statements each. (Not all ended up speaking due to the lengthy wait times - but perhaps 60-70 folks did speak up.)

I am sad to report the overwhelming number of speakers describing first hand experiences with, and concerns for, the continuance of public and non-profit social, legal and health safety nets in the county. ("It's the economy, stupid.")

However, a few other topics were covered:

10 speakers in support of Hilltop Hanover (all staff and friends of).
8 speakers in support of the county forensics lab.
2 speakers in favor of the tax cuts.
2 speakers in favor of CCE.
1 speaker in favor of GNC (Greenburgh Nature Center).

I URGE YOU TO COME OUT TO THE NEXT PUBLIC HEARING IN PLEASANTVILLE (Nov 23rd) or the FINAL ONE in the BOL chambers (White Plains - Dec 9th) - see below. Without a strong show of public support, it is not clear that the Legislators will feel compelled to restore the county's budget cuts of CCE or GNC programs. The impact on outreach and educational services will be drastic.

MASTER GARDENER should make a statement at these hearings about their own activities and the benefits of their outreach to the public, the schools, etc. Local ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS, ARBORISTS, or those involved in the GREEN INDUSTRY should also speak up about the real world benefits and the "multiplier effects" of CCE and/or GNC programs.

One word of advice from someone who has sat thru 3 1/2 hours of speakers - be ready to edit your statement "on the fly". It comes off best if statements in support of the same organization are not overly repetitive, rather taken together present a full picture - but one without excessive repetition!

This urgent message for support needs to be sent out in as many channels as possible - feel free to repost and share with your own lists. We need to make sure anyone associated with either CCE or GNC programs or who has made use of their services will speak up in support at one of the last two public hearings:

Northern County Public Hearing
Tuesday, November 23rd
Location: Pleasantville High School, 60 Romer Avenue (corner of Romer and Clinton Street), Pleasantville

Final Public Hearing
Thursday, December 9th
Location: County Board Legislative Chambers, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor (corner of Martine and Court Street), White Plains

All hearings start at 7:00pm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Community Services Provided by Westchester CCE Staff and Master Gardeners

From the CCE:

Westchester County provides 34% of our budget, but receives 100% of our programming.

Highlights - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County
2010 Budget Revenue breakdown summary

Funding Source -Dollar Amount- Percentage of Funding
County $1,187,82551%
State via Cornell* $616,779 27%
Federal $337,14815%
Other $174,4447%
TOTAL BUDGET$2,316,396100%

CCE Westchester did not receive $1.3 million in 2010; the County Executive only approved and released $1,187,825. That was a 10% cut which resulted in 4 layoffs.

* The above figures do not include $1,422,466 worth of services from Cornell faculty and staff, and do not include the value of volunteer hours: $1,788,696.

If their services had to be provided by others, the cost is estimated to be over $16 million.

In the last 5 years, CCE cut their staff from 36 employees to 18, but more than doubled their productivity. They are extremely efficient. Not one penny of the county funding ever goes toward fringe benefits (pensions, healthcare, etc.) at CCE.

  • We have 130 active Master Gardener Volunteers in Westchester County.
  • Master Gardeners have volunteered over 7000 hours so far in 2010. This is worth over $2,000,000.
  • CCE has trained nearly 200 teachers in school gardening.
  • Master Gardener Volunteers mentor 35 school gardens in Westchester County which makes school gardening more accessible to over 12,000 youth.
  • We responded to 1,636 requests for service (Hort Hotline, Diagnostics etc) last year.
  • Our nutrition department provided nutrition education to 721 adults representing 2382 family members in 2009. This service is bilingual.
  • Our incubation and embryology program (egg hatching) reaches over 11,000 youth.

Background info:

CCE has a $2.3 million dollar program, but it only costs Westchester government about $1.2 million a year. That comes to about $1.00 a year per resident.

CCE is a governmental agency, not a private non-profit. It must, by law, receive its core funding from county government appropriations. CCE was created by the NYS Legislature, not by Cornell University. It was created for the benefit of the respective counties and their residents and businesses. Cornell only administers the program. Cornell University funds do not directly support CCE. Cornell pays faculty and staff who provide in-kind services to county extension offices and the people we serve. Cornell University’s endowment is for Cornell students and cannot be spent on New York State’s cooperative extension system.

CCE provides training, technical expertise and economic development support to the “Billion Dollar Green Industry” in Westchester County. That includes the turf & landscape industry, the private and public golf course industry, the nurseries and greenhouses and the farms. CCE's education teaches them to use the most environmentally safe products and procedures. CCE also provide training, advice and assistance to municipalities in caring for their green spaces (parks, street trees, planting strips, etc.) and provide integrated pest management education so that people don’t use environmentally-unfriendly or dangerous methods of dealing with pests (insects, rodents, bedbugs, wild animals, etc.). CCE serves urban, suburban and rural parts of the county. This “green” industry employs tens of thousands of Westchester residents, so keeping these businesses viable in Westchester means keeping them employing a lot of local people and paying a lot of taxes.

CCE provides advice and guidance to homeowners about plant and pest problems. CCE's lab quickly analyzes and identifies problems brought to it by homeowners. CCE's 150 volunteer Master Gardeners provide thousands of hours of free assistance throughout the year all over the county. Without CCE, the Master Gardener program ceases to exist.

CCE's nutrition educators teach food-stamp eligible people how to stretch their food stamp dollars and make it to end of the month with nutritious and healthy foods. CCE teaches them how to buy, read labels, select, safely handle and store, and prepare food for their families. CCE reaches about 2,400 of Westchester’s poorest people each year with this program. CCE's programs are geared toward preventing youth obesity which leads to later life problems of hypertension, cardio-vascular disease and diabetes. Since this population lacks private health insurance, their healthcare becomes a taxpayer’s burden, so their work is designed to alleviate that tax dollar drain.

CCE's 4-H/Youth Development program teaches kids self-confidence, public speaking, self-discipline, good citizenship, and science. CCE provides the huge Incubation & Embryology program in the local schools that teaches 9,000 Westchester students each year about biology and the environment by having them incubate and hatch chick eggs in their classrooms. On their own, the schools could not afford to hire the expertise that CCE provides in doing these programs unless they increased their schools budgets and raised school taxes.

Call County Legislatos whom you know or who otherwise represent you to let them know how important CCE is to Westchester. Since no other entity in Westchester does what CCE does, if CCE disappears there won’t be anyone else to do this job. It just won’t get done.

You can also email your legislator: http://www.westchesterlegislators.com/legislators/index.htm
Also copy Pete Harckham, who is the majority leader.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

County Budget Hearings - speak up!

notice on hearings from Tom Abinanti's enews list:

November 10, 2010

Dear Neighbor:

I invite you to attend one of the public hearings which the Westchester County Board of Legislators will hold to take input on  the proposed 2011 County Operating Budget submitted by County Executive Robert Astorino.

The schedule for the public hearings is:

Southern County Public Hearing
Wednesday, November 17th
Location: Riverfront Library, 1 Larkin Center (corner of River and Dock Streets), Yonkers

Northern County Public Hearing
Tuesday, November 23rd
Location: Pleasantville High School, 60 Romer Avenue (corner of Romer and Clinton Street), Pleasantville

After these two hearings the Board of Legislators may amend the proposed budget. A final public hearing will be held:

Final Public Hearing
Thursday, December 9th
Location: County Board Legislative Chambers, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor (corner of Martine and Court Street), White Plains

All hearings start at 7:00pm and citizens are invited and encouraged to attend and comment.

If you cannot attend but would like to comment on the proposed budget, please contact me at (914) 995-2821 or Abinanti@westchesterlegislators.com.

For information on the 2011 proposed budget click here.


Thomas J. Abinanti

Westchester CCE Threatened by new County Budget!

From the Director of Westchester CCE:

You may have already read that the budget County Executive Astorino sent to the Board of Legislators cuts all county appropriations to Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The way our funding works, the law requires the county to first make an appropriation.  Then, after the county appropriates funding support to CCE, the state, federal and Cornell funds kick in as support to CCE.  If the county does not make an appropriation to CCE, none of the other funds will flow, either and CCE will cease to exist in Westchester County.

            The law was set up this way because cooperative extension is a cooperating agreement between the county, state, federal government and Cornell.  If the county wants to have a cooperative extension office, it must show good faith by making its appropriation first.  Since no appropriation is included in the County Executive’s 2011 proposed budget, CCE will cease to exist on January 1, 2011.  If CCE does not exist, the Master Gardener program in Westchester County will cease to exist, also.  All of the horticulture and pest management services, along with the nutrition education and 4-H program will also cease to exist in Westchester County. 

            The County Executive’s budget is now in the hands of the Board of Legislators.  They can modify it and include CCE.  If they are persuaded to do that and an appropriation is made to CCE, the County will continue to receive the state, federal and Cornell support .  And – the Master Gardener program will continue.

Call County Executive Astorino's office to say "no way!" 914.995.2900

Email or call you County Legislator, as well!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Greenburgh-Based Eco Activists Go to Washington to Speak for the Trees

From 11/9/10 Rivertown Patch.com:

Greenburgh-based environmentalists participate in FERC roundtable to argue against clear-cutting practices.
By Lizzie Hedrick

The Greenburgh Environmental Forum's LORAX Working Group chairperson Mark Gilliland appeared before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington DC late last month to discuss the impact of federal regulations on state and regional electric utility companies' implementation of vegetation management plans surrounding active power lines. 

"I am very pleased that LORAX had this opportunity to present landowner and environmental concerns at the FERC technical roundtable," said Gilliland, an Irvington resident. "It is imperative that community concerns about property value loss, environmental damage and health impacts of these TVMPs are discussed in the context of both State and Federal regulations and policies."

In reaction to utility companies'—predominantly Consolidated Edison's—practices of clear-cutting trees along power transmission lines in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, a group of concerned residents and officials have banded together to push for stronger regulations preventing deforestation they believe is unnecessary and detrimental to our natural environment.

Facing FERC in the nation's capitol, LORAX representatives argued that the current vegetation management programs followed by Transmission Operators—or companies responsible for transmitting energy within a given region—in New York have lead to "severe economic, aesthetic and environmental damage along the transmission rights-of-way due to excessive removal and clear-cutting of all trees and vegetation, lack of adequate storm-water and erosion controls, over-reliance on herbicides, as well as insufficient or inadequate follow-up mitigation."

They said this "scorched earth" approach has  been extensively documented by LORAX, the Sierra Club and various municipalities in the region, as well as by both the Rockland and Westchester County Legislatures.

Appearing on the panel of the roundtable were representatives of the utility industry, state and federal regulatory agencies, utility arborists and landowner groups.

As expressed by Mark Hegerle, director of FERC's division of compliance for the Office of Electrical Reliability, the goal of the meeting was to uncover why utilities and state regulators claim "FERC made us do it" in response to public outcries about recent wide-spread tree removals. The discussion covered a wide range of topics including: Review of federal reliability standards, state approval and oversight of utility vegetation management plans, mandatory non-compliance fines, mitigation of environmental impacts and best practices for vegetation management in the rights of way.

"Viable solutions need to be found to prevent further damage—solutions ranging from revision of approved 'best practices' and reduction of non-compliance fines, to requiring detailed environmental reviews and responsible mitigation along the rights of way," Gilliland said.

Currently, utility companies are fined not only for allowing vegetation to exist within a certain spark zone of active power lines, but also for allowing plants to grow into a wider intermediate area further from the line. "We believe government agencies should reduce the penalty structure so that the utility companies don't feel the need to take such drastic measures," Gilliland said.

Though grateful for the opportunity to present his extensive research, Gilliland added that, in reality, changing the regulations will be difficult.

"Vegetation management plans for each utility company must be approved at both the state and federal levels," Gilliland said. "The second issue is oversight: Once the plans are approved, who is regulating their practices?"

According to Gilliland, nobody is.

He said the the state and government agencies responsible for overseeing the process are understaffed and have been "in reactive mode,"—spending all their time responding to community outrage over clear-cutting, rather that stopping it from happening.

"No vegetation implementation plan specifically mentions clear-cutting," Gilliland said. "But they all do it because it is cheaper to send someone in with a chainsaw than to have an arborist actively select which trees pose a real threat to power lines. It also means they have to come back less often to maintain the rights of way, which is also potentially cheaper."

Several other LORAX members, including Marvin Baum (Rockland County), Amy Kupferberg (Orange County) and Chris Crane, a member of the Westchester County Legislature, attended the FERC roundtable and lobbied strongly for changes to vegetation management regulations and policies. LORAX Working Group founding members include: Patricia Podolak (Yorktown), Susan Porcino (Ardsley), Anne Jaffe-Holmes (Irvington), David Bedell (Sleepy Hollow), and Walter Rodriquez (Yonkers).

"I certainly hope something was accomplished by attending the roundtable and presenting the home-owner and landowner's perspective so that FERC could have a more balanced picture of what's going on," Gilliland said. "What they will do with it, I'm not sure."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What To Do When You Get Noticed By Con Ed

This post covers what to do if your tree is nearby or under a distribution line along the street and you have received notice that Con Ed will be pruning in your neighborhood - or specifically on your front street.

If the tree is on your property, then UNLESS Con Ed has an easement agreement with you, they can not cut or prune the tree. They have to get you sign a release document or else they would be trespassing and illegally "taking" your tree.

Con Ed is not supposed to prune beyond their specified 10'(side) x 15'(above) x 10'(side) line clearance window. They are supposed to prune / manage only distribution lines, not "last mile" connections between the pole and your house or building. (These are your responsibility.)

Before you agree to having a (private) tree pruned by signing off on the utility's worksheet, demand an on-site consultation with the Con Ed supervisor and the tree contractor's forester so as to be shown specifically the extent of the cutting / pruning. They should be able to show you with a laser pointer every branch to be removed or pruned and be able to tell you "why". (It would be a good idea if you are discussing "high-valued" trees to supply your own consulting arborist at this review meeting who will be able to negotiate better pruning decisions and alert you to major concerns.)

If the tree is on a town/village easement (along the street), then the town/village must agree to Con Ed's actions ahead of time. This would typically be the DPW department, but may be the town/village forester, Tree Commission, or sometimes even the town/village clerk. Depends on municipality.

If tree is on town easement (thus, they own the tree) and the town agrees that the tree can be topped (bad for tree!), you are out of luck. Conversely, they may request the tree be removed and mitigated for (replant in new location or replacement with something which will not grow into the wires over time.)

Finally, in some cases, the town/village can request that Con Ed keep the tree unpruned (for aesthetic, public or historic reasons - such as along a park side), and ask that the utility's Line Engineering department consider "appliances" such as yard arms to move the wires out of the tree's crown or into a safer position vis-a-vis the tree's branches/trunk. (This "card" can be played very infrequently by the municipality, so save it for where it makes a major difference for the local community!)

In terms of topping, this is strictly in violation of ANSI A300 part 1 standards of industry "best practice" tree pruning. Con Ed is well aware of this specification and all of their contractors are supposed to conform to it. Short of topping, the only other "solution" would be to heavily prune the tree on one side. In many cases (esp. of it's an evergreen), it would be better to simply remove the tree in exchange for an acceptable replant somewhere else on your property. This would have to be negotiated with Con Ed ahead of time, of course.

As the Con Ed line supervisor or tree contractor's forester may not be able to commit to a negotiated agreement, I suggest that you contact the division head of Con Ed for distribution lines - Matt Glasser. If you must, go higher up the executive chain to top management (whose contact info can be discovered via web search.)

Please take time now to photo document your tree BEFORE Con Ed comes around, as well as after their visit.

Organize with your neighbors and form a community watch group during pruning operations in you neighborhood or along your street. Get local media involved. Make sure your local municipal officials know about this issue, as well. Make noise and be visible!

Record (take notes) concerning all conversations with utility staff, crews or higher-up corporate managers, as well as with your local municipal officials. Get any agreements with the utility concerning pruning or mitigation replanting in writing.

And MOST IMPORTANT, when the day of vegetation management comes, BE THERE ONSITE WATCHING and/or have an arborist there representing you. Keep an eye out at all times! A lot of damage can be done with a chain saw in just a few minutes...

Be sure to have an "escalation" number (7x24 cell#) to contact the in-the-field supervising Con Ed person so as to "stop work" and force an on-the-site meeting if the workers are not following agreed upon plans.

Good Luck!

Be Prepared: Distribution Line Clearing Community Action Plan

Ask your municipal officials to set up an action plan now before Con Ed pruning trucks are idling on your street. Some things you can do on your own within your local community / block. Please consider these action points (based upon our experiences in Irvington last year):
  • Have your elected reps meet with senior Con Ed management to let them know you mean business when it comes to tree conservation and urban forest protection.
  • Hold a high visibility public rally in support of tree conservation and minimal pruning. Get local media involved from the onset. Collect email addresses for community notification.
  • Get to know your crew supervisor for the Tree Contractor and project supervisor for Con Ed. Ensure the Con Ed supervisor is an experienced, certified arborist.
  • Trust but verify – meet, review & monitor every step of the way, every tree (on public easement or on private property)!
  • Have a qualified Consulting Arborist on contract and "on-call" for the duration of the project cycle. Have arborist meet and review pruning expectations with Con Ed and contractor on each new street segment (typically each morning).
  • Highlight areas of historic or specimen quality trees for special handling. Meet & review - walk the line - ahead of time, but especially on the day of actual pruning. Insist upon supervision oversight by a senior Con Ed arborist that you have met and are comfortable with.
  • Agree upon and publicly post the complaint resolution process. (Complaints should go to a specific project email address and to local officials such as DPW for tracking & forwarding "up the chain", and not to the generic 1-800-ConEd number.)
  • Have a Contact Escalation list (including Con Ed senior management) and a defined emergency “stop work” process to allow time-out for on-site consultations.
  • Keep the public informed (email, web, cable, clerk's office, police department) as to the daily work schedule, their rights as property owners, escalation contacts to use, etc.
  • Ensure that Con Ed and Tree Contractor are giving sufficient pre-notification to homeowners for all private tree pruning. There should be at least 48 hours and a contact number to set up a consultation with the Con Ed Notification Forester for the project.
  • Document your assets: take photos before and after pruning. Also get a written description from Notification Forester of what tree pruning you have agreed to.
  • Set up volunteer monitoring of line clearing operations. Establish neighborhood watches block by block. Observers should report (escalate) any unusual, unwanted, un-agreed, or excessive pruning immediately!
  • Report any rude language or behavior by pruning crews. Sure, dealing with public is difficult, especially when it comes to emotional issues such as trees. But the crews must remain civil and professional at all times.
  • Create and update daily a "Scrapbook of Shame" (using Flicker or similar photo posting site) documenting bad pruning and other problems reported.
  • Use Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to keep everyone informed and to quickly organize an action response crowd, if and when required.
Longer Term Efforts:
  • Start a program of municipal street tree maintenance (eg: annual pruning, tree replacement with appropriate tree species, GPS-based street tree survey.)
  • Plan a public “Re-Leaf” Project to re-plant areas where street trees have been removed.

Yonkers Announces Upcoming Distribution Line Clearing Cycle by Con Edison

From the Yonkers Green Policy Task Force enewsletter:

Con Edison's tree-trimming operation will soon hit in Yonkers again.

The public utilities company maintains that trimming trees along transmission (large high voltage towers) and distribution lines (street poles) minimizes storm damage to ensure reliable transmission. Opponents say Con Ed is going way overboard by cutting down far too many trees for neighborhood aesthetics. They argue that over-pruning can weaken the tree and/or create an imbalance in its distribution which causes an even greater likelihood of damage and power outages.

After its first round of cutting last spring, a group of concerned citizens formed a regional task force, with participation from the Yonkers GPTF, called the Lorax Working Group in an effort to watchdog the process. [...] After studying both sides of the issue, Yonkers responded in February 2010 by passing a moratorium on the clear cutting of trees along transmission lines until further study. The utilities company is, however, able to cut trees along its distribution lines and herein lies the rub.

They will start the process in the next few weeks on the streets listed below. Once Con Ed furnishes the GPTF with the exact times and dates, we will publish another eblast so residents can supervise the process on their properties if they so choose.

The following Yonkers streets will be affected:

Fort Hill Rd
Central Park Ave
Young Ave
Depew Ave
Morrow Ave
Brendon Hill Rd
Malverne Rd
Scardale Rd
Harney Rd
Beech Hill Rd
Old Army Rd
Weyburn Rd
Edgemont Rd
Lynwood Pl & Rd
Wyndham Rd
Overton Rd
Iverness Rd
Banbury Rd
Cotswold Way
Chalford La
E. Fort Hill Rd
Halsey Rd
Simpson Pl
Eisenhower Pl
Crisfield St
Andover Rd
Patton Dr
Nimitz Rd
Nassau Rd
Shore View Dr
Beaumont Cir
Grange Ave
Canfield Ave
Armonk Ave
Helena Ave
Roxbury Dr E
Cleveland Pl
E. Fort Hill Rd
Bacon Pl
Eisenhower Dr
Nimitz Pl
Falmouth Rd
Deerhurst Rd
Woods Hole Dr
Dimsdale Rd
Marissa Dt
Chalford La
Wyndcliff Rd
Dorset Rd
Sulgrave Rd

Stay informed! Get on the Yonkers GPTF mailing list today!

Yonkers GPTF contact info:
email: gptf@cityofyonkers.com
phone: 914-377-6067