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Some Lexington homeowners concerned about tree removal, line clearing by Kentucky Utilities

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - According to LG&E and KU, they manage roughly 5,400 miles of transmission lines and more than 65,000 acres of land around those lines. To manage clearing those lines, they try to use a five-year cycle for going through certain areas, but as they move to work around Lexington, many homeowners are concerned their area will be cleared out completely.

“Most of these trees that you see likely fall within the range that Kentucky Utilities seems to be a danger to the lines, and they will be clear cut,” said concerned neighbor Diane Atchison.

And while they understand the importance of keeping lines clear, they’re also worried about their property value decreasing if too many trees are removed.

“For many people this is going to devastate their properties, it’s going to lower their property values in the biggest investment they will make in their whole lives, which is their homes,” Atchison said.

Kentucky Utilities told homeowners the reason they’re removing trees is so that they can prevent any trees from falling even close to or growing into their transmission lines.

“Ongoing maintenance and enhanced efforts have reduced the frequency and duration of power outages by 40% since 2011, excluding major storm events, so what we’re doing is working,” said LG&E and KU spokesperson Daniel Lowry.

According to Lowry, because they operate on a roughly five-year cycle, they also have to think about the future when clearing certain areas.

“Some trees can grow three to four feet a year so where the tree is right now, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be there when you’re talking about four to five years in the future,” Lowry said.

The mayor’s office provided this statement to WKYT:

“The Mayor has been working to get KU to responsibly preserve as many trees as possible for more than a year. We have had lawyers research whether we have any way to stop the clear-cutting. We have basically been told the law is on KU’s side. We’ve had our arborists working with them and have had several meetings with KU leadership to help them understand the concerns of our city. Next week the Mayor will meet with KU’s new President John Crockett about the issue.”

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