DC:Town Hall Meetings Scheduled, Speak Up for Trees!

Find out what we can do to maintain our Green Spaces, not only in our East of the River communities but across the District!
Casey Trees
October 7, 2010
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Call to Action
Greetings!

Democratic Mayoral Nominee, Vince Gray, has announced a series of town hall meetings to be held city wide ahead of the general election on November 2, 2010.

Gray, along with Council Members and Area Neighborhood Commissioners from each Ward, will host the town halls to hear directly from residents about their concerns about District Government and the ways in which they would like city government to serve them best.

I encourage you attend the town hall scheduled to take place in your Ward to highlight three issues that pose a significant threat to the health of the District’s tree canopy – the fleecing of the Tree Fund, refusal to underground powerlines and the inadequate administration of the Tree Bill.

I have provided below a synopsis of each, and questions I hope you will consider asking at one the upcoming town halls or submitting to Gray’s mayoral campaign at action. You may also complete and return the campaign provided comment form. Feel free to print this email out to bring with you to the town hall and share with your friends and neighbors. The town hall schedule by Ward is at the bottom of this email.

Thank you for your tireless committment to restoring, ehancing and protecting the tree canopy of the Nation’s Capital.

With appreciation,

Mark Buscaino

Executive Director

Tree Threats
Urban Forest Preservation Act

The Urban Forest Preservation Act was established in 2002 to replace healthy trees that are removed by planting others to take their place. The intent of the Act was to replant trees removed from private property back onto private property. Unfortunately, money being paid into the Tree Fund to replace trees on private property are being used to plant street trees.

Furthermore, we have been told that since the Act was passed, 9,000 trees have been planted as replacements, but there are no public records showing where they are or if they are even alive.

  • Will your administration work to ensure trees removed from private lands are replaced on private lands? What changes to the law do you envision to make this a reality?
  • Will your administration share information about where replacement trees have been planted so we can ascertain the effectiveness of the law?
Tree Fund

The 2011 budget took $530,000 from the Tree Fund and diverted it to the General Fund for non-tree planting purposes effectively reducing the amount of trees planted in the District. The Urban Forest Preservation Act, which created the Tree Fund, forbids diverting Tree Fund moneys to the General Fund.

  • Will your administration commit to restoring these funds in the current FY budget?
  • What safeguards will you place on future Tree Fund balances to ensure this no longer occurs?
Undergrounding Powerlines

PEPCO recently and traditionally blames trees as the main culprit for power outages, and recently they have gone on record saying they will be more aggressive in their tree clearance operations. Unfortunately more aggressive tree clearance likely means more tree failures, and there still exists no comprehensive plan for reliability system-wide.

Reports continually recommend PEPCO underground its wires. DC’s Comprehensive Plan concurs with that view, and neighborhood groups bring this issue up every year. Despite this record, and DDOT’s rebuilding streets across the city which is the perfect time to bury lines as it is cost-effective, PEPCO resists, elected officials do not take the lead, and the wires stay overhead.

  • Do you feel that undergrounding utilities is an important issue for the present and future of the District of Columbia?
  • If so, as Mayor, will you take clear action to have PEPCO underground utilities?
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