Columbia tree trimming to resume after outcry

Photo Credit: FILE

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Utility crews in Columbia's Shandon neighborhood are set to resume tree trimming following community outcry.

SCE&G officials say contractors will be trimming limbs near utility lines. City officials, including certified arborists, will be monitoring the crew's work on a daily basis.

Concerned residents and Midlands representatives called on SCE&G to change their tree trimming policy late last month.

On July 25, Sustainable Midlands, Historic Columbia Foundation, Rosewood Community Council, Shandon Neighborhood Association, and other organizations united to express their concerns to the electric company. They were worried about the long term environmental impact of what they consider over-trimming happening near power lines in Columbia neighborhoods. They asked the company to meet with elected officials to create a policy that strikes a balance between reliable electric service and protecting trees and historic neighborhoods.

Andy Marion, President of the Wales Garden Neighborhood Association, said, It is not possible to overstate the importance of these large old trees to the character of our neighborhoods when you have trees that are 50, 60, 70 years old or more they can not be replaced overnight they can not be replaced in a generation these are too important to our neighborhoods.

Columbia city councilwoman Belinda Gergel said, all of us understand the importance of maintaining power lines that is the given, the specifics around that question really rotate about aesthetics quality of life established neighborhoods and how we make sure we do everything we can to build neighborhoods that will continue to draw residents in the future.

Eric Boomhower, Manager, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications with SCE&G responded to the concerns.

"Our customers and all of us here at SCE&G want the same thing " trees that have been properly trimmed to improve safety and reliability of electric service," he states. "We trim to standards developed by the Tree Care Industry Association to help ensure utilities and government agencies throughout the United States are trimming to consistent guidelines that are in the best interest of tree health. It TMs better from the standpoint of tree health to remove whole limbs with a relatively small number of large cuts, versus making numerous small cuts and leaving stubbed off branches to decay or die." Read the rest of his statement by clicking here.

To find out more about SCE&G's tree trimming efforts, click here.

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