Letter to the Editor: Eversource’s failed vegetation management program

Say ‘no’ to Eversource’s tree removal request

On Sept. 21, Darien will hold a remote public hearing on Eversource’s request to clear-cut 3.5 miles of trees. The utility’s wish list includes tree removal on the north and south sides of the railroad tracks, Noroton Heights, DOT property throughout Darien, and along Raymond and Littlebrook Road.

Before the utility came into my neighborhood and started aggressively insisting that trees needed to be removed for the electric grid's safety, I didn’t know much about our private/public utility. I am learning a lot.

Eversource says all the trees they want to remove are or may be hazardous. I couldn’t tell you. When asked for data and detailed information on their work, Eversource has a habit of saying, ‘we don't release that information to the public.’

When asked why they changed their specifications and are clearcutting rather than pruning trees, Eversource likes to say, “We’re being proactive.” Though interesting, many trees that Eversource wants to take down have grown unencumbered for 30-plus years, so “proactive” is a bit of a stretch.

Another thing I’ve learned is that Eversource is very comfortable coming into a community, proposing the removal of hundreds of trees, refusing to do an environmental impact study and claiming they are not liable for any harm or consequences once the trees are gone.

Something else I’ve learned is that a ratepayer or a municipality can ask Eversource for information, and the utility can ignore them and get away with it.

I don’t know much about hazardous trees, but I do know about the hazards created by climate change. So, I ask, should Eversource be allowed to unilaterally make decisions without considering the people, the communities, and the wildlife they will be impacting? I say no.

Natalie Tallis, Darien