News

PG&E to remove 280 trees in Mountain View

PG&E officials say they have identified about 280 trees in Mountain View that must be removed in order to clear the way for existing natural gas lines. About 50 of these trees have already been removed, they said.

The update on the tree removals comes after PG&E surveyed more than 1,000 trees along Mountain View's gas pipelines. Clearing obstructions away from these lines has been a priority ever since the 2010 San Bruno explosion, in which a leaking gas pipe sparked a deadly inferno in a suburban neighborhood.

Despite the public safety concerns, Mountain View residents were irritated when PG&E officials insisted that many of their backyard trees and sheds would need to be removed. It didn't help when homeowners were told they could face legal consequences if they resisted.

Following the backlash in Mountain View and other cities, the utility pledged to take a gentler approach. Last week, PG&E began removing nine trees, including two redwoods, from the 900 block of Middlefield Road.

In addition to about 220 trees on private land, PG&E officials say they are also working with the city of Mountain View to remove about 60 trees on public property.

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PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said the utility is providing replacement trees for each one that is removed.

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PG&E to remove 280 trees in Mountain View

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Aug 30, 2018, 1:54 pm

PG&E officials say they have identified about 280 trees in Mountain View that must be removed in order to clear the way for existing natural gas lines. About 50 of these trees have already been removed, they said.

The update on the tree removals comes after PG&E surveyed more than 1,000 trees along Mountain View's gas pipelines. Clearing obstructions away from these lines has been a priority ever since the 2010 San Bruno explosion, in which a leaking gas pipe sparked a deadly inferno in a suburban neighborhood.

Despite the public safety concerns, Mountain View residents were irritated when PG&E officials insisted that many of their backyard trees and sheds would need to be removed. It didn't help when homeowners were told they could face legal consequences if they resisted.

Following the backlash in Mountain View and other cities, the utility pledged to take a gentler approach. Last week, PG&E began removing nine trees, including two redwoods, from the 900 block of Middlefield Road.

In addition to about 220 trees on private land, PG&E officials say they are also working with the city of Mountain View to remove about 60 trees on public property.

PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said the utility is providing replacement trees for each one that is removed.

Comments

Dave Classick
Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm
Dave Classick, Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm

So, where is the pledge from PG&E to plant more trees, or perhaps move existing ones? These trees are valuable resources, not just for shade and carbon sequestration, but aesthetic of our beautiful city as well. I was born and raised here in MV, and the idea that a utility company can mow through and completely change the climate and livability of our city without equal and opposite improvement is quite concerning.

I appreciate them trying not to blow us up like san bruno, but this isnt a Dr Seuss book, and we dont have a Lorax.. Who will speak for these trees???


Bruce Karney
Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Bruce Karney, Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:53 pm

It would be valuable to have some context, such as knowing what fraction of Mountain View's trees these represent. I estimate there are at least 100,000 trees in our community of 80,000 residents. If so, the removal affects less than three-tenths of a percent of our trees. Unlike the previous commenter, I do not think this is enough to "completely change the climate and livability of our city." I sympathize with those who live next to the trees that will be removed, but I applaud PG&E's increased attention to safety. I recently drove through Santa Rosa where whole neighborhoods burned because of fires started (most likely) by PG&E's poor maintenance practices.


Oedipus McGillicuddy
North Whisman
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm
Oedipus McGillicuddy, North Whisman
on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Trees are great. Trees reaching their roots into gas lines, not so great. Let the engineers do their work to keep our city safe from gas leaks and explosions. We can put trees in elsewhere ... even on the roofs of our buildings these days.


Duong
Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Duong, Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Less trees better during winter. No leaves to rake or blow.

Ginko trees the worse in my neighborhood.


Poppadop
Willowgate
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Poppadop, Willowgate
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Really, Duong? Your response to this important dialogue is to fret about having to rake or blow leaves? Perhaps you'd like to see the trees in your neighborhood removed in the fall, before the leaves fall, and then put back in early spring so you can enjoy the benefits for the next six months until the trees become inconvenient again?


Mark Noack
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm
Mark Noack, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm

@Bruce Carney

If I recall correctly, Mountain View has something in the area of 30,000 trees on public land, not counting private property. Last month, we wrote a story about the debate over the city's efforts to preserve its tree canopy:

Web Link


Michael Dawson
another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:23 pm
Michael Dawson, another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Mountain View residents, please take a look: www.savelafayettetrees.org.

There is NO reason for PG&E to take down these trees. Their claims for first responder access is disputed by our fire officials; nobody is going to enter a live leak area until the gas is shut off. Also, tree roots have never cause an accident at an underground transmission pipeline anywhere in the US in the last 20+ years.

PG&E is cooking up bogus claims so they can clear their lines for convenience of doing future patrolling and maintenance work. They have not done a CEQA review, as required by law, and are trying to go from community to community to divide and conquer.

Have your city officials tell PG&E to back off. There's no reason to destroy trees on gas transmission pipeline easements.


John Tallywacker
North Whisman
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:30 pm
John Tallywacker, North Whisman
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Really. They're using their San Bruno disaster as a reason to cut down tree? That tradgedy was caused because PGE couldn't be bothered to keep proper records of their equipment so no one knew the line had welded seams and couldn't take the pressure they were putting on the line.


Old TImer
Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:39 pm
Old TImer, Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Oh please stop worry about the trees. They are renewable.


Resist
another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 7:09 pm
Resist, another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 7:09 pm

It's your back yard. The pipeline does not have a surface easement to prohibit trees. PG&E should compensate for the loss of value if they take private property. They have ways to inspect the ground that do not require removing trees. They want to fly over with infrared cameras, which is a technology that was not invented when the easement was purchased, and trees were expressly permited in the easements as purchased.


Neighbor
Shoreline West
on Aug 30, 2018 at 8:05 pm
Neighbor, Shoreline West
on Aug 30, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Thank you Michael Dawson! As a wildlife biologist, it greatly concerns me that no CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review has been done. Does the City of Mountain View have any say in this? Do WE have any say in this?

From one Old Timer to another, yes trees are a renewable resource. Do you have 50 years to wait for a newly planted five gallon bucket tree to grow into a a fully mature tree? Once they are gone they make an immense adverse (unless you are Duong, yay, less trees! SMH...) impact on the community for decades.


Observer
Whisman Station
on Aug 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm
Observer, Whisman Station
on Aug 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm

I wish they would remove the trees just in front of my house. They scrape against the window when the wind is blowing. Squirrels use them to climb onto the roof. I used to have excellent reception from broadcast tv with just an indoor antenna in the window, but now I get pixelation as the trees have grown tall and block the signal.


I Agree...Over Fixation
another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 11:51 pm
I Agree...Over Fixation, another community
on Aug 30, 2018 at 11:51 pm

There is an over fixation on saving trees (or maybe an anti housing growth/commerce strategy). Trees are a renewable resource that you don't have to wait fifty years to enjoy...

Come on people, let PG&E do their job and stop harassing them.


Sophie
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2018 at 12:09 am
Sophie, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2018 at 12:09 am

PG&E just wants to cut cost to maintain these trees. They are lazy and greedy, period. These trees are public property bringing natural beauty to our city, no corporation should be allowed to remove them unless approved by majority of the residents here.


Gina Dawson
another community
on Aug 31, 2018 at 6:04 pm
Gina Dawson, another community
on Aug 31, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Residents in Lafayette are fighting PG&E tree removal because we've lost trust in PG&E safety priorities. We have found pipeline safety lapses that PG&E needs to address - exposed pipeline; lack of pipeline testing; no provision of historic records; no remote gas shut off valves, etc. PG&E is spending $500 million, yes, half a billion dollars on tree removal for first responder access after there is a pipeline emergency! There is no pipeline safety law that mandates PG&E clear their easement row. PG&E was criminally indicted for neglecting pipeline safety law in San Bruno. Trees had nothing to do with that tragedy. First responders were delayed because PG&E could not shut off the gas. PG&E may threaten legal recourse as a bully tactic, but they have yet to publicly document sound legal basis for taking residents to court. Stick together, ask them to be accountable to pipeline safety law first and foremost, not their bottom line.


Dennis
Stierlin Estates
on Sep 1, 2018 at 12:09 am
Dennis, Stierlin Estates
on Sep 1, 2018 at 12:09 am

Some people here advocate that we let PG&E 'do its job', and remove trees that it feels should be removed. That would make sense, if PG&E were a reputable company with our best interests at heart. Alas, that is not the case. PG&E is blatantly greedy, and is clearly only interested in what is cheapest for PG&E. Many experts have already weighed in against all of PG&E's stated justifications. Meanwhile, before PG&E began its 'gentler approach', it was quite open about its true justification, claiming that it has the right to do whatever it wants in order to lower its costs. Since that approach failed, the current approach is to pretend that it is all about safety. I recommend that we have unbiased experts weigh in about the validity of PG&E's claimed justifications and what is best for the city before the city officials agree to let PG&E determine what trees have to go in the pretense of our best interests, rather than in its own best interests.


Duong
Cuesta Park
on Sep 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm
Duong, Cuesta Park
on Sep 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm

> Really, Duong? Your response to this important dialogue is to fret about having to rake or blow leaves? Perhaps you'd like to see the trees in your neighborhood removed in the fall, before the leaves fall, and then put back in early spring so you can enjoy the benefits for the next six months until the trees become inconvenient again?


Just remove ginko trees. No trees better in my front yard.

I don't care about your neighborhood or its trees.


Sylvia Martin
The Crossings
on Sep 3, 2018 at 8:55 am
Sylvia Martin, The Crossings
on Sep 3, 2018 at 8:55 am

Trees clean the air. Without these trees our world gets more polluted. Please plant more green leafy trees.


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