Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Con Ed is planning to cut down tens of thousands of trees each year in our region. We want to make sure that Con Ed only cuts down trees that may have an impact on the power lines. We want to make sure that Con Ed does not over-cut. I am requesting the Town Board to authorize the hiring of additional arborists to monitor the tree trimming/cutting program and to work with the company to make sure that only trees that have to be cut are cut. Village officials have expressed interest in working with the town on this initiative so this could be funded via the A budget (if the villages want to participate).
We also want Con Ed to replace trees that are being cut with smaller growing trees. If Con Ed knows that qualified arborists are monitoring the tree cutting that takes place there is a better chance that they will be extra careful!


Anonymous said...

Does the town already havr arborists that work for DPW?

Anonymous said...

As you found out, ConEd will not cover the cost for extra town arborists since it already has licensed arborists supervising. This certainly makes sense on ConEd's part.

If the town does not trust the ConEd arborists' decisions, sure, you could hire special town arborists. It seems, though, like an unnecesssary expense for the town.

Realize that municipal arborists would have no authority in regards to ConEd's state-approved plan/decisions. So I'm not sure, then, what the purpose would be for the town to hire arborists-monitors in the first place.

If there's extra town cash around for arborists, I'd rather see it be put to use for street-sweeping and weed-wacking.

Anonymous said...

Well, can we trust the Con Ed hired aborists - or since they are on Con Ed's payroll - will they say "yes, burn and slash" to most trees?

Maybe if the names of these aborists are made widely public, we would know who is laying their reputation on the line. Or we could find out if Con Ed ignores them and just cuts. Maybe unrealistic - but better than just trusting that Con Ed will follow their advice.

Anonymous said...

I do understand what you're saying (11:11pm), but I doubt that an arborist, no matter whose payroll, would have a slash-and-burn mentality. Also, I agree that it's unlikely ConEd will feel the need to release its personnel data. I think the town's idea to hire its own arborist-supervisors is unnecessary.

Jim Lasser said...

I was deeply concerned by Mr. Bass's assertion, made via broadcast e-mail to the Town's gb-list, that Con Ed should not be allowed to make an "economic decision" about cutting the trees. If one wishes to restrict Con Ed's decision making ability especially where it has a direct effect on the company's bottom line, then let's go back to the old system of non-competitive electricity production and distribution and guarantee them a rate of return on their investment. One simply cannot have it both ways - either Con Ed operates in a competitive market and makes economic decisions or it operates in a protected franchise and can be regulated by government.

There is a wonderful opportunity to do some long range planning - things that will enhance the quality of life long after the current crop of politicians have retired to warmer climes.
A long-term regional plan developed, supported and encouraged by the Public Service Commission and local governments, to bury all transmission and delivery lines would benefit all of us. We could require Con Ed to begin the process NOW. Then, our children and grandchildren would not need to worry about whether a thunderstorm or sleet or ice will bring down the power lines. There would be no need for them to argue with Con Ed about trimming trees - the current rights-of-way could become beautiful greenstrips. (Where practical and esthetically acceptable, wind turbines could be erected in place of transmission towers - allowing more power to be generated closer to where it was needed.)
To do this would require somethings missing from the current discussion - first, a willingness to engage in discussion; second, a vision of the future which goes beyond the career of any single participant, corporate or public official; third, a recognition that the current situation did not sudden occur - and that it will take at least as long to undo it as it took to create it.
Patience and good faith rather than entitlement and ambition might succeed in making things better for our descendents.

Ellen Hendrickx, Citizen Tree Trimming Oversight Committee said...

Mr. Lasser's appropriate comments notwithstanding, Con Ed's plan to begin cutting in Hastings within the next two weeks, followed by other villages and Unincorporated Greenburgh, calls for immediate action. There are a number of unintended consequences to Con Ed's tree "maintainance" program. Their plan is to cut over 250,000 trees in Westchester over the next three years, averaging out to approximately 100 trees per square mile. Each tree absorbs about 2,000 lbs of water per day. Thus there is potential for increased flooding, an already disasterous problem in parts of Greenburgh. By choosing to begin cutting during the summer, the height of the growth season, Con Ed puts our trees at risk. If more than 25 - 30% of a mature tree is cut, the tree is weakened and at risk for infection and eventual death, thus creating the potential for more dead trees and limbs in the future. If the cutting is not done carefully, the aesthetic appeal of important roads and streets may be affected, thereby impacting real estate values. There have been numerous instances already of trees requiring modest trimming being drastically pruned or cut down by uninformed and uncaring crews hired by Con Ed. Con Ed has three arborists and thirty eight crews. It therefore behoves all citizens to be vigilant and the services of an arborist who is not on Con Ed's payroll will be an important aspect of that vigilance.

Anonymous said...

" ... the services of an arborist who is not on Con Ed's payroll will be an important aspect of that vigilance."

Okay, but realize that a town nor its arborist has no authority over ConEd. Municipalities can pass all the laws they want, but ConEd is not bound by local laws. Any complaints about ConEd's plan/standards, and associated laws, go through the state.

Anonymous said...

that's true ... if they violate the standards (see link below), it can be reported to the state ... but a town/cillage/city cannot have any jurisdiction in a coned matter ... even if there were a local resolution passed, coned does not need to abide by it ... that's the law ... but i know that greenburgh doesn't always choose to follow state laws


Anonymous said...

Did I hear con ed's spokesman say at Wed. night's Town Board meeting that they would send letters to people notifying them if trees on their property were to be cut, or am I imagining it? Anybody else see on cable or attend that meeting?

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand two things.First would I get a tree cut or properly trimmed or risk that durning a storm I would lose power to my house .Second that if the power does fail and I lose all that is in my fridge is the town going to pay for all that is lost ??? If YOU can gaurntee that durning a storm my power will not be effected I say do not cut the tree but if you can not then cut the tree to the point where at least there is a chance of no power failures

Anonymous said...

Yes, I see your point. But what people are questioning is weather or not there will be clear cutting, instead of trimming back of trees near power lines.

From previous posts on this site, it appears that people are reasonable, as you request that they be, but that in Ardsley, for example, there has been clear cutting, not trimming. Even trimming of an old tree can mean that in 2 or 3 years, it will totally collapse which sometimes means terrible drainage and flooding problems from erosion in a bad rain storm.

In other words, your fridge will continue working during a storm, but your basement or street or yard, will be badly flooded or eroded.

That is why, when Con Ed contracts with landscappers in Connecticut, as it has for this cutting, people in Greenburgh wonder who is minding the store? We will be left maybe without the fridge working - and with bad flooding. Thus the need for us to have some oversight in the matter if there are folks from out of state, who have to account to no one, cutting and leaving.