Walnut Creek homeowner fights back against PG&E's plan to remove trees from her property

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Bay Area homeowner fights back against PG&E's tree removal from home
A Walnut Creek homeowner is fighting to keep more than a dozen trees on her property after PG&E was planning to cut them down over compliance issues.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- A homeowner in Walnut Creek is fighting to keep more than a dozen trees on her property, after PG&E was planning to cut them down over compliance issues.

Lined by new fencing to keep tree trimmers out and surrounded by iPads recording every minute, Lyndsey Brackley says she's trying to protect more than a dozen oak trees on her property that PG&E wants to cut down.

It's happening off of Dale Court, near Kinney Drive in Walnut Creek.

"We are trying to put our foot down and essentially all we are trying to do which is remain as it's always been, which is have pruning, not removal," Brackley said.

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This piece of property and her family's relationship with PG&E dates back to the late 1990's.

Up until last September, despite the trees being on private property, she says PG&E has been coming out to trim her trees near their power lines twice a year.

"It's always been agreed, my father worked very closely with them to make sure that as little damage and cuts to the trees were always possible because privacy is a gift around here," she said.

But a little more than three weeks ago, she says something changed.

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After four years, PG&E says it's moving away from its enhanced vegetation management program that cleared excess vegetation from power lines.

PG&E crews came through and marked red x's on the backs of more than a dozen trees.

Trees, she says an independent arborist deemed healthy.

"It's not ok because it's not something that's being cohesive across the board," she said. "You are, what feels to be, singling us out. Our main concern has always been to make sure that the neighborhood and the community is kept safe. We do not want to do anything that would put anyone at risk. It's always been ok just trimming the trees."

Now, she's hired her own attorney to help fight this battle because she says the utility company has yet to explain why the trees need to go until they showed up Tuesday morning, citing compliance issues.

"These trees are everything, besides the fact that there is the privacy," she said. "I grew up with these trees and they hold memories, they hold my heart, they hold multiple people's hearts because they chose to live here also."

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PG&E provided this statement to ABC7 News:

"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility. We have been in communication with this customer, and are currently in communications with our customer's attorney. The trees in question are incompatible due to high voltage 115kV transmission lines in the area. Our vegetation management team has surveyed the area and determined that removing vegetation in conflict with transmission lines is the best management practice to ensure the safety of our customers and the communities we serve."

"Should a high voltage transmission line be impacted by vegetation, there is the potential for widespread outages, wildfires, and other emergencies. We have a granted easement on the property and have determined removal of the trees is needed to ensure safety."

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