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Legislation Would Allow Utilities to Remove Trees

Below is a link to a bill introduced last November by State Representative Jack Franks, D-Marengo, that would effectively give electric utility companies carte blanche to remove any trees that can grow taller than 25 feet and are growing within 20 linear feet of their lines, whether or not the trees are on private property.

The bill is scheduled for discussion before the Public Utilities Committee on Tuesday, March 6th at 3pm in Springfield.

Read the amended version that was filed on Feb 28th at, and search for HB 3884.

Facts about HB 3884:

• Allows electric utilities to remove any vegetation with a mature height of 25 feet or more that is growing within 20 linear feet of their transmission lines carrying less than 100 kVs.

• The utility would be empowered to make the final decision as to which trees get removed.

• Trees located on private property or within the public right of way could be removed at the utility’s discretion without any requirement to notify local units of government or residents.

• It would be a crime to interfere with the utility.

• The utility is not required to mitigate the loss of trees through planting of new trees.

• The only lines that would be exempt are those that run to individual homes and the high voltage lines that carry more than 100kV.

From community character and property rights perspectives, this bill is a disaster. If passed, it has the potential to literally destroy the character of communities by giving the power companies the right to REMOVE trees that they deem a hazard — regardless of whether or not that tree might be a 200 year old oak that was there long before their company (or the state of Illinois) even existed.

The one provision in the bill that seems reasonable would prohibit the planting of any vegetation that has a mature height greater than 25 feet within 20 feet of an electric transmission line. The bill should stop there.

Please do what you can to spread the word about this legislation and to contact Representative Franks directly to ask him to withdraw the bill. Here is a copy of this information in a Click Here that you can use.

There is a fill-in form for an email message to Rep Franks at this location:

Phone number to the Woodstock office (south of the train bridge on Hwy. 47): 815-334-0063

Phone number to message Representative Franks directly: 815-338-6363

Mailing address: Representative Jack Franks, P.O. Box 274 Woodstock, IL 60098

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