Sunday, September 2, 2012

Framingham residents vexed by NStar's clear cutting

NStar crews are clear-cutting power lines in Framingham in an effort to prevent widespread power outages, but some residents claim the tree chopping is in excess.

According to NStar, trees in a Framingham neighborhood had to be cut to protect power lines. “This is beautiful, just brush. Nice, you know, a nice area that you can look out of my kitchen window and see nice green brush, and now it’s completely destroyed,” said Melissa Ramsay.

NStar’s transmission corridor runs behind Ramsay’s home and NStar has already taken down hundreds of trees within the corridor. The trees have been taken down from parks and people’s backyards.

NStar says under federal regulations they are required to protect power lines.

“One outage caused by that tree on the right of way could affect tens of thousands of customers in several communities. That’s why it’s so crucial that we cut back,” said Caroline Pretyman, an NStar spokesperson.

NStar sent a flier to residents saying they were going to “trim up pine,” but residents say they have done more than just trimming.

“Let’s work on a way that better manages the property. Almost like a forest management list instead of just coming and cutting the whole area,” said Josh Mulready, a resident.

Residents and selectman along attended a town meeting Wednesday night to express their anger about the situation. NStar representatives defended the company's move to take down trees in its corridor.
"I'm not sure that I will win all of your hearts because change is a difficult thing to move forward. This is a maintenance program that goes beyond your neighborhood in Framingham," said Joanne O'Leary, NStar representative.

"This was a scorched earth campaign," one resident said at the meeting.

NStar says the project will extend into neighboring areas.