Trees atop major gas lines may need removal, PG&E says

By Maria Sestito

Pacific Gas & Electric will be making the rounds in Napa County in coming weeks, contacting residents who have trees and property improvements that sit over natural gas transmission lines.

PG&E has been working for several years trying to ensure that their crews as well as emergency responders are able to get to underground transmission pipelines as part of their Community Pipeline Safety Initiative.

The utility is concerned when access is blocked by pools, shrubs and trees, slowing response teams down, explained Jeff Smith, a representative from PG&E. When located too close to gas pipelines, these features can also damage the pipe.

The company is addressing problems in unincorporated Napa County and in the city of Napa. Any trees that have been planted over these pipelines may have to be removed, Smith said.

Smith said that trees over public property have already been examined and the ones that need to be removed have been determined. But the fate of trees blocking lines on private properties is yet to be determined.

If a tree needs to be removed, Smith said that PG&E will cover the costs of the removal as well as the replacement of the tree. “We know trees are important to people,” he said.

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