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Redding official opposed to Eversource vegetation management pilot program on scenic road

Eversource proposed a vegetation management pilot program in Redding, the first town in the state, as a way to improve resiliency.  First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton disagrees with the amount of deforestation she says is planned on Cross Highway, a scenic road.  She recently filmed a drive down the route Eversource proposed.  The so-called fall zone, as large as 75 feet for large trees, is around any tree that could foreseeably fall on power line in the future.  This would be on private, town and state property.  The Resiliency Program will expand typical clearances around power lines and remove tall-growing tree species capable of falling onto overhead electric lines, including trees across the street and trees further into private property.  The utility would need permission from town and private owners for tree removal on their properties.  Pemberton says Cross Highway would be irreparably changed in terms of its scenic character.  She acknowledged that trees have caused some power outages, but notes that regular tree trimming has been effective at preventing outages and more residents have generators.  The town's tree warden would have to sign off on any tree to be removed and will work with the Eversource arborist on assessments.  Each tree must be posted, and within 10 days any resident can call for a hearing.  Eversource crews would seek to plant medium- to- small-sized trees and bushes to mitigate the removal, but it won't be a one-for-one replacement.

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