Riverbank resident Dan Vidal was concerned when he was notified by a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) representative that they may need to cut down an oak tree on the corner of his property on Central Avenue and Santa Fe Street.
This concern prompted Vidal to research the tree bordering his property where he found that it is a 300-year-old Oak tree that was registered in 2006 as a historic oak (#44). Vidal also contacted the California Wildlife Foundation, which he said gave him some direction on saving the oak tree.
While Vidal had organized a rally this past week for neighbors to turn out in support of saving the tree and discuss the issue with PG&E representatives, they were pleasantly surprised when the news came that the tree was, in fact, safe from removal.
PG&E has been leading a gas pipeline safety initiative across Northern and Central California to make sure that customers have the safest and most reliable gas system in the nation. Not only are they making sure that the natural gas transmission pipelines are operating safely but they are checking the surrounding area above and around the pipelines to ensure firefighters and emergency response crews have the access they need in an emergency or natural disaster.
Due to Vidal’s research and efforts the tree has been saved and PG&E representatives were able to work around the tree while ensuring pipeline safety is kept intact.
“The Community Pipeline Safety Initiative is a program to ensure that first responders and emergency response crews have immediate access to gas pipelines in case of a natural disaster or emergency,” said Jeff Smith, PG&E. “While it may not be visible to the naked eye, certain trees, tree roots, brush and structures can threaten gas safety, much like not parking a car in front of a hydrant is critical to fire safety.
“That being said, we completely understand how important landscape is to families and the community and the environment.”
Smith explained that they are willing to discuss any landscape issues with residents and has given out notices and information explaining the reasoning behind the tree removal.
According to a PG&E notice, natural gas is one of the most efficient, reliable and affordable sources of energy for homes and businesses, and customers can play an important role in helping PG&E keep the gas system safe. There are basic guidelines for making sure structures and trees are located in the right place on your property.
Contact PG&E with any questions at 1-877-259-8314.
“If a tree does need to be replaced for safety reasons, we will listen to the concerns of our customer and the community and work together to ensure the natural beauty of the area is maintained,” added Smith.
To find out if a PG&E natural gas transmission pipeline runs under your property contact the PG&E Land Management Department at 877-259-8314, or search the online Gas Transmission Pipeline Map at pge.com/pipelinelocations.