PG&E has agreed with the city of Lafayette to cut-down 272 trees, 216 of which are "protected" by city ordinance. In many cases, these are large oak trees at least a hundred years old that loom over the public and private properties of Lafayette. In exchange, the city has agreed to accept $530K for street meridian improvements. This tree destruction would create the single-largest impact on Lafayette's semi-rural environment in its history.
PG&E states the tree-cutting is necessary for access to their gas pipeline, but along the Lafayette Trail, there is clearly no access problem. PG&E says the tree roots may damage the system, but there has been no cases of gas explosions due to trees, only bad PG&E welding. In fact, there is evidence that trees may DECREASE pipeline failure by supporting soil structure.
PG&E's "one-fits-all" approach to tree cutting is an environmentally short-sighted approach at the expense of communities throughout the Bay Area.
The citizens of Lafayette respectfully demand the following:
- PG&E release a map showing the locations, ownership, and size of trees to the general public.
- PG&E place large, visible signs on each private or public tree currently in jeopardy explaining its designation for removal.
- The city of Lafayette should notify each resident with impacted trees on private property that they are under NO legal obligation to sign removal agreements with PG&E per California state law.
- Most importantly, the city of Lafayette, PG&E, and the East Bay parks department must come up with a plan to shield the pipeline, or move the current pipeline five feet further into the trail, thereby eliminating the need for irreversible tree removal.
Lafayette's environment will be impacted for generations if this is not done.