Raguet Street residents upset over tree trimming

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A grinding chipper echoes through the neighborhoods on and off of Raguet Street. Everyone knows the periodic trimming by Oncor contractors keeps power lines free of low hanging limbs.

"We've had repeated outages in the Nacogdoches area," said David Collier of Oncor Electric. "We're trimming trees in that area at the present time trying to improve reliability."

What many residents on the tree-lined street don't know is if the tree is too close to the power line it won't be trimmed, but cut down, to the ground.

"Any trunk of the tree that's within that 10 foot area of the primary conductor we usually try to remove, simply because of pure safety," Collier said.

Francis Ferguson learned from one of her neighbors they both had tall pines scheduled to go on the chopping block.

"How do you decide what tree to cut?" Ferguson said. "We can't cut them all. That's why we live in East Texas."

Protest signs of sorts hang on the pines, estimated to be around 50 years old.

"We are not tree huggers," Ferguson said. "We did have an oak tree cut because it was diseased at our expense, but to cut down a healthy tree just because it might fall seems illogical to me."

This is far from the first time ONCOR has had opposition from a homeowner about trees. The tree contractor said recently in Wells that law enforcement had to be called when a homeowner adamantly opposed them cutting down a tree.

Oncor won. The company has aerial rights allowing it to cut down trees growing on private property.

Tree contractors say they've been cutting down some really nice trees, but they're only following orders. On Thursday a very large red oak off Raguet Street, near the SFA campus, will be cut down.

Copyright 2010 KTRE. All rights reserved.