SAN FRANCISCO, April 25, 2003 — The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has presented Pacific Gas and Electric Company its ninth consecutive Tree Line USA Award.
The award, established by the National Arbor Day Foundation, acknowledges the utility’s stewardship of urban forests, tree-trimming practices, arboreal worker training and extensive public education programs. The Tree Line USA award is presented to select utilities annually by the foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters.
A major goal of the Foundation is to encourage the adoption by all utilities of natural pruning that trains trees to grow away from power lines. Natural pruning helps trees retain more of their natural form, is less a threat to their overall health and improves their appearance.
Trees and utility service lines are both integral components of every community in PG&E’s service area. By necessity, they must co-exist in close proximity and each in its own way is essential to the quality of life in Northern and Central California. The Tree Line USA program promotes the dual goals of dependable utility service and abundant, healthy trees in America’s communities.
“Whether planting trees to shade our communities or pruning trees near power lines to keep our communities safe, PG&E has once again proven itself deserving of the Tree Line USA Award,” said Andrea Tuttle, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “We commend PG&E for its continuing contributions to keeping California green and safe.”
“This prestigious award represents the efforts of the entire vegetation management department and is an example of their commitment to the many communities we serve,” said Shan Bhattacharya, vice president of engineering and planning for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. “It is an honor to receive this recognition for the ninth year in a row.”
Pacific Gas and Electric Company clears brush and trims or removes more than two million trees every year along 18,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 90,000 miles of distribution lines. State fire safety law also requires the utility to keep the bases of 600 transmission towers and 120,000 distribution poles “vegetation-free.”
In addition to its field work, the utility’s vegetation management staff participates in arboreal community events, periodically provides trees and native plants to schools for planting, offers public education and guides for the safe planting of trees and shrubs (especially near power lines) and promotes the use of the International Society of Arboriculture recommended method of directional tree trimming.
“We have worked hard to qualify for this certification, reflecting our commitment to safety and environmentally friendly work and business practices while promoting healthy urban greenery through vegetation management excellence,” said Kevin Dowd, director of the utility’s vegetation management program. “As the 2003 fire season approaches we will be continuing our commitment to line clearance and vegetation management aimed at fire prevention and public safety.”
The non-profit National Day Foundation was founded in 1972 to foster the planting of trees, and national and international environmental stewardship. It has nearly one million members in the United States and maintains a rain forest rescue project, education programs for children, and environmental awards programs honoring achievements by individuals, businesses such as Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and communities that support their urban forests. Last year, it distributed nearly nine million trees for planting.
For more information about the National Arbor Day Foundation, please visit its web site at www.arborday.com.
For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit the company’s web site at www.pge.com.