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Leal Charonnat: Bury the power lines

Regarding PG&E cutting down trees in Nevada City. For the life of me I cannot understand the differing points of view on this. One side seems to side — in so many words — with PG&E by citing they have a monopoly and there is no viable alternative to PG&E, hence the whatever PG&E wants to do, PG&E can do. PG&E is of course now a bit gun shy letting anything organic anywhere near their power lines, given the state “law” that they are fully responsible for the entire damage of any forest fire initiated with their power lines. So, obviously, they are pretty adamant about taking out anything anywhere near their power lines. Given the density of Nevada City proper, it would seem they are “coming for those trees.”

On the other side, people who do not want the trees that PG&E wants to cut down cut down, cite past policy where PG&E deferred cutting down trees entirely, and instead did some tree-trimming jujitsu. In other words, let’s just pretend it is still 1965 and ignore all the aspects that global warming has caused including the extensive lack of annual rain fall and higher annual temperatures — even in Nevada County — such that trees do become stressed to the point of being much more subject to their flammability propensity.

The obvious conclusion by some — which it seems even the Nevada City Council goes along with — is between the trees or the power lines, the trees need to go.

What I don’t understand is why the more obvious solution — and the one with the higher degree of fire safety — seems to be ignored by all.

Bury the power lines.

Generally, the cost of underground service to a residence can be $5,000 to $10,000 (and when power lines are buried, the cost is borne by individual property owners). Financed over a 40 year period would equate to a rather modest yearly cost of less than $400 at today’s interest rates. Of course, this is something the city council should be pursuing. Preserving those trees is not just a benefit for the individual property owners, but would preserve the very essence of what makes Nevada City, Nevada City.

Leal Charonnat

Nevada City


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