PG&E Removes 1,400 Trees In Fresno District, Gas Pipeline Safety

We here at KMPH Fox 26 are always keeping a close eye on wasteful government spending.

We have an update to the story we brought you last week, and the thousands of dollars of your money wasted.

Last week we told you about nearly 50 mature trees along the Sugar Pine Trail in northeast Fresno were removed.

Now we've discovered some 1,400 trees are being removed in PG&E's Fresno District.

In addition, hundreds of trees will be removed along the backside of the Big Fresno Fair Racetrack.

Stacey Rianda, Deputy Manager Two of the Big Fresno Fair says, "Along the street, 250 to 300 trees we are hearing have to go."

PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles says, "It's all in the name of safety."

Boyles says after the San Bruno explosion in 2010, new regulations have been put into place.

In the last year, PG&E completed a survey of its 6,750-mile gas transmission pipeline system using high precision GPS mapping.

What it found, some may call shocking.

Boyles says trees, fences, and even swimming pools were built on top of major gas pipelines.

Boyles says, "We knew what was there when we put the pipe in the ground. However we haven't necessarily gone back and looked at what's there now. So that's what the pipeline pathways is all about."

The projects' cost 500-million dollars, Boyles says part of it will be used to pay for the replacement of trees.

Reporter Erik Rosales asks, "So PG&E will give cities and counties a donation, in the form of check?

Boyle says, "Either that or we will buy trees and give them the trees. It varies on a case by case basis."

However, in an interview last week, Tree Fresno's top brass said removing some many mature trees could have a dramatic impact on the air quality.

Tree Fresno, Lee Ayers says, "We not only want to address the landscape for this section but we want to look at the air quality impact and the community at large. Hopefully there will be some provision for other trees."

Boyles say a majority of the 1,400 trees in the Fresno District have been removed.

If you'd like to see a map of the pipelines and see if your community could be affected, just clock on 'news links' on our website