N.J. lawmaker wants to clear the way for cutting back trees too close to powerlines

 New Jersey Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo wants to clear the way for utilities to remove or prune tress that are too near power lines in an effort to prevent outages. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo wants to clear the way for utilities to remove or prune tress that are too near power lines in an effort to prevent outages. (AP file photo)

A bill awaiting action by New Jersey lawmakers would prevent local groups from standing in the way of a utility crew pruning or removing trees that could fall on power lines.

Residents who want to preserve the original nature of their properties object to the power company’s tree trimming, said Harding Mayor Nicolas Platt.

“We’re finding legacy trees that are being maimed in the name of preventive maintenance,” he said.

Bu Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo said his proposed legislation would help ensure the reliability of the electric system.

“I’m trying to make sure that we’re not in the dark,” said DeAngelo, D-Mercer. “More importantly, if we’re in the dark and if you have a resident that needs medication or refrigeration or anything emergency-wise, you can’t do it without power.”

DeAngelo said he plans to meet with local officials to discuss their concerns.

“They’re concerned that they don’t want to just have the utilities to come in and mow down something, an arborvitae bush or whatever it may be,” he said. “So I believe there’s a happy medium here to make sure that our power stays on and our vegetation doesn’t disrupt that.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.