Despite recommendations from Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and the city council, Kentucky Utilities decided to move forward with its tree removal program.
KU representatives said trees pose a safety risk if too close to power lines and began cutting down trees in the Landsdowne neighborhood Monday.
Protestors arrived in the area around 9 a.m. Monday trying to prevent KU from cutting down trees in the area.
- KU moving forward with Lexington tree removal plan; will pause for environmental study
- Homeowners pack a Lexington council meeting to protest clear-cutting of trees
- Lexington leaders to question Kentucky Utilities over tree removal plan
- Some Lexington homeowners concerned about tree removal, line clearing by Kentucky Utilities
After a few hours of protesting, people were told to move or they would be arrested.
One woman chose to stay in her final attempt to save a flowering crab apple tree. She was arrested and crews proceeded to cut down the tree.
Mayor Linda Gorton tweeted:
I’m very disappointed by actions KU has taken today in cutting down trees that in no way threaten transmission lines. This does not reflect the compromise I requested that trees be trimmed rather than cut down, or the 30-day moratorium I requested.
Today’s action also directly contradicts the resolution Council passed on Nov. 18. Trees are important to our city. Lexington has been a Tree City USA for 33 years. Trees help control stormwater, improve air quality, provide shade and enhance our neighborhoods.
We have been working with KU for months to try to find a better way to preserve our tree canopy, while protecting our electrical infrastructure. KU’s response today is to continue cutting down trees.
While the city does not have authority to stop KU, it’s unfortunate that KU is not listening to the citizens it serves. The City is forced to consider other options, including filing a formal complaint with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, which oversees utilities.