20 Aug 2014
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House Agrees to Tree Cutting Amendment Filed By Framingham Reps

Framingham's trio of state representatives filed an amendment to hold utility companies, like NSTAR, responsible for the removal and cutting of trees.

House Agrees to Tree Cutting Amendment Filed By Framingham Reps

Responding to concerns from residents, Framingham's trio of state representatives filed an amendment to hold utility companies, including NSTAR, responsible for the removal and cutting of trees. The amendment would also require utilities to replace any damaged trees and plants already cut by utility companies.

Since May,

The amendment, which passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives at the end of June, would require utility companies to file their vegetation paring plans with the state Department of Public Utilities, who will review plans every four years, work with the companies to tweak the proposals, and hold public hearings prior to plan approval.

Framingham State Representatives Chris Walsh, Tom Conroy, and Tom Sannicandro filed a joint amendment to House Bill 4198: An act relative to competitively priced electricity that addresses tree clearing along utility easements, according to a press release issued by the three representatives.

“This amendment really addresses the crux of the problems with the clear cutting of the easements that have so traumatized homeowners,” said Walsh in a press statement. "We were looking to create assurances that residents would not be faced with the loss of quality of their environment or home values due to insensitive transmission line maintenance.”

“We made good progress with our amendment to the energy legislation to help the people of ," said Conroy in a press statement. “We will continue to push for this amendment to become law so that those who have lost trees, shrubs, and other vegetation in their yards will receive at least partial restoration of their property and the values of their homes.”

In May, Framingham Patch was the first to report about the

Since that report, A month later,

“This amendment attempts to address the concerns our constituents have expressed because of recent clear-cutting,” said Sannicandro in a press statement. “Replacing the trees and plant life that’s been lost is important to the quality of life in our community.”

"We have a good working relationship with state and local officials and work hard to balance their commitment to their constituents with our commitment to providing safe, reliable electric service.  We’ve done extensive outreach to discuss the importance of this work and our easement rights to keep these transmission corridors clear of any vegetation that could result in widespread power outages, said NSTAR spokesperson Mike Durand in a written statement.

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