Case 10-E-0155 Lorax Response - 061510

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					                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




June 15, 2010

Secretary Jaclyn A. Brilling
New York State Public Service Commission
Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 3
Albany, New York 12223-1350

Subject: Comments Submittal for Case 10-E-0155, Proceeding on Motion of the
         Commission as to New York State's Electric Utility Transmission Right-of-Way
         Practices, filed in C 27605

Dear Secretary Brilling:

The Greenburgh Environmental Forum’s LORAX Working Group, which is tasked with defining
possible regulatory, legislative and procedural solutions regarding Con Edison’s vegetative
management practices along both distribution lines and high voltage transmission lines,
submits the comments below on the above-referenced Case 10-E-0155.

The Greenburgh Environmental Forum (GEF) is a collaborative forum of representatives from
the Town of Greenburgh and the six incorporated villages within the town, created to review and
respond to common environmental issues that affect our region. The GEF’s LORAX working
group was established in December 2009 in response to an on-going series of rights-of-way
(ROW) clear cutting of trees along the transmission line corridor through Westchester County.
The working group includes members from several municipal conservation/environment
councils in Westchester County, as well as Rockland County, and includes legal and technical
input.

We make the following recommendations (abbreviated “R#”) on procedures to enhance the
Public Service Commission’s (PSC) review in Case 10-E-0155:


R1: Conduct Public Statement Hearings in Westchester and Rockland Counties for Case 10-E-
0155.

R2: Request Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioners undertake an on-site tour of
affected areas along the Catskill Aqueduct to obtain a firsthand knowledge of impacts.



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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

R3: Require the immediate revision of all utility Transmission Vegetation Management
Programs (TVMPs) and existing (approved) multi-year programs to reflect changes that result
from Case proceedings and final orders.

R4: Require immediate and reasonable mitigation for past transmission operators’ (TO) actions
in vegetation management that have substantially harmed homeowners that abut the right-of-
way. Such mitigation plans must have wide-spread public notice of availability and a fixed
timetable for compliance / completion by the TO.

R5: Establish a negotiated rulemaking (aka ‘consensus rulemaking’) proceeding1, open to
affected property owner, as well as to general public comment, in order to address the issues of
adequate mitigation and/or restitution (as described in R4).

The overriding goal in the above and following recommendations is to achieve a better balance
between the transmission utilities’ reliability concerns and the aesthetic, environmental, health
and property value concerns of the ratepayers. This goal was identified2 in Case 04-E-0822 but
has not been achieved, as further described below.

Comments Overview
At the outset of the Case 10-E-0155 proceedings, the PSC Commissioners outlined a set of nine
questions of concern that would serve to focus discussion in the case3. The intent of these nine
questions appears to be an attempt to direct, limit and otherwise constrain the scope of Case 10-
E-0155 testimony and discussions to issues, such as the cost of mitigation, to the detriment of the
larger environmental policy discussion. Consider the discussion at the Commission meeting
which approved the opening of this Case4. These comments provide evidence of an underlying
bias: that the PSC’s transmission line vegetation management (VM) policies outlined in Case 04-
E-0822 are essentially correct and necessary, while it is merely the misguided interpretation /
implementation of these by the Transmission Operators (TO) which is being questioned by both
the PSC and the public. Additionally, the Commissioners’ stated assumption is that the public
questions the policy because of a lack of understanding from insufficient educational outreach.5


1
  Under negotiated rulemaking, NYSPSC website on dispute resolution [ URL 
http://www.dps.state.ny.us/ADR_Overview.htm ], the following definition is provided: Negotiated Rule-Making -
This is a procedure in which a facilitator works with various interest groups to negotiate over legislation or
regulation. If consensus is reached, the Commission can use it as the basis for proposing rules or recommending
legislation.
2
  New York State Public Service Commission, Case 04-E-0822, Order Requiring Enhanced Transmission Right-of-
Way Management Practices by Electric Utilities, at 13 (June 20, 2005) “They [Transmission Owners] must continue
to evolve and develop effective danger tree programs that incorporate the appropriate balance between attempting to
attain zero tree-caused outages and the corresponding cost, public acceptance and environmental impact of these
programs.”
3
  New York State Public Service Commission, Case 10-E-0155 - Proceeding on Motion of the Commission as to
New York State’s Electric Utility Transmission Right-of-Way Management Practices. NOTICE INVITING
COMMENTS (Issued April 20, 2010)
4
  April 15, 2010, Regular Meeting of the Public Service Commission, Transcript at 31-54 [“Transcript”].
5
  See, e.g., Transcript at 43, 47, 51.


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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

In fact, public education is NOT required for the public or local municipal officials to determine
that aesthetic, environmental, health and property value harms have occurred due to unnecessary
and under-supervised clear cutting of the entire ROW. Nor is public education required to
determine that there has been insufficient follow-on mitigation to correct resultant problems, if
any has been required by PSC regulations or offered at all by the TO.6

However, even this background observation misses many important unasked questions: Why did
the Department of Public Service (DPS) staff approve the TVMPs of each TO if, a) the stated
plans were inadequate and/or they mistakenly interpreted the intent of the PSC guidelines, and b)
the plans were so badly implemented and supervised on an on-going basis, and c) when these
plans were approved, weren’t DPS staff required to provide in-field oversight (and not just end-
of-year oversight) of all such VM activity? When significant complaints were raised, submitted
to the PSC in a timely manner (as VM field work was still progressing) by residents and by local
governments (including 4 municipalities7 and the Westchester County Board of Legislators),
why was this evidence of major problems ignored for so long – until the vast majority of the
ROW clear cutting had been completed throughout Westchester County? This clearly
demonstrates an inadequate oversight process within the DPS – thus a consideration of the
actions, motivations and staffing levels of the DPS should be undertaken in this Case, as well.
For example, what level of DPS staffing is required to achieve the policy goals as outlined?8

Finally, in consideration of the fact that the original PSC guidelines did not undergo a full and
open public SEQR EIA/EIS review but rather were based upon an arguably improperly
completed short-form application9 which was applied state-wide, why was such a policy kept in
place without proper scientific and public review for so long? Why was there no review and
update to it based upon the release of the federal FAC-003-1 NERC10 standard? In a time of
climate change and global warming, a policy that accepts and condones the wide-scale clear
cutting of forest resources (without analyzing the negative impacts on carbon sequestration and
oxygen generation), the unchecked destruction and fragmentation of habitat (without regard to
possible rare or endangered species), the fouling of watershed lands (with disregard for DEC
regulations) and that relies upon continual application of noxious herbicides must be questioned -
it clearly does not conform to “best industry practices” or desirable public policy.

Based upon these factors along with other specific concerns, our responses, observations and
suggestions will enlarge upon the original scope of the nine questions proposed by the PSC in
Case 10-E-0155.
6
  Specifically, LORAX has been focused on incidents reported adjacent to transmission facilities ROWs managed by
Con Edison in Westchester County, most notably along the Catskill Aqueduct where Con Edison has an easement
agreement with NYCDEP. Map 1 in Appendix A shows some of the transmission facilities owned by Con Edison in
Westchester and Putnam Counties.
7
  City of Yonkers, Town of Greenburgh, Town of Pleasantville and Town of Yorktown.
8
  Furthermore, what level of staffing and training is required of the TO or its contractors? How, and how often, is
this staffing and training monitored and evaluated by the PSC? What criteria is used to determine staffing needs and
performance?
9
  According to NYSDEC regulations, SEQRA short forms are to be used for activities of 10 acres or less. See 6
NYCRR 617.4(b)(6)(i) [Type I actions include projects/actions that physically alter 10 acres].
10
  North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is the electric reliability organization designated by the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to establish mandatory reliability standards for the bulk power
system.


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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155


Observations on the Enhanced Transmission ROW Management Practices Ordered in Case
04-E-0822

The observations listed below are based on our collective experiences with the enhanced
transmission right-of-way management practices by Con Edison and Orange & Rockland
(together "the Utilities") pursuant to PSC's Order in Case 04-E-0822. While focused on the
service territory of the Utilities, many of these observations likely have state-wide applicability.

These observations (abbreviated "O#") are based on the first-hand experiences of residents,
municipal staff, and elected officials dating from 2007 (and earlier). These comments have been
generally expressed at various public meetings convened by municipal leaders since that time
and are the basis for several municipal resolutions adopted in the last several years.

O1: The Utilities’ interpretation and implementation of PSC’s Rules has resulted in the
unreasonable cutting of trees, unnecessary clear-cutting, excessive and unsightly debris piles, and
extreme vegetation removal that exposes bare soil in the entire easement area and beyond. These
practices have created unsightly visual impacts, unnecessary and uncontrolled erosion due to
denuded land, and the virtual decimation of carefully planned and maintained noise, viewshed
and habitat buffers.11

O2: The Utilities have not provided adequate public notice of its plans to implement the PSC
Rules, including failure to properly survey affected (adjacent and in-ROW) properties and failure
to communicate with affected property owners regarding the work that is to be performed by
their contractors. When communication occurred, it was often incomplete or misleading.12

O3: A lack of an appropriate communication, complaint handling and escalation protocol
between the Utilities, their contractors, PSC, local municipalities and the public has caused
significant frustration and exacerbated the problem.13

O4: The PSC has failed to properly oversee the utilities’ implementation of its Transmission
Vegetation Management Plan (“TVMP”), resulting in unnecessary economic, environmental, and
aesthetic harm to numerous property owners and communities.

O5: The PSC’s Rules were not accompanied by a fair and adequate environmental review, as
only a limited, inaccurate review (use of SEQR “Short Form”) was conducted in 2004, with little
or no notification to the affected public.



11
   See generally, photographs, diagrams, and maps in Appendix A that show these adverse impacts.
12
   Recognizing this fact, Con Edison hastily updated its online web page (and associated diagrams) concerning
transmission line vegetation management and created a new booklet (an extensive FAQ) for property owners –
which was distributed in March and April of this year to affected residents in the Yorktown area.
13
   In fact, in the Sprain Road area of Greenburgh and in Pleasantville, significant clear cut operations were
commenced over the weekend; in the case of Pleasantville, during a 3 day national holiday weekend. There simply
was no one in a supervisory role available for direct contact from either the utility or its contractor, Lewis Tree
Service.


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                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

O6: The PSC’s Rules remain unrevised, even though the North American Electric Reliability
Corporation (“NERC”), under authority provided by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005,
has developed national transmission vegetation standard FAC-003-1 in 2007 and is presently
reviewing a revised standard, FAC-003-2.

O7: The TVMP being employed by the Utilities and/or the Utilities’ interpretation of the PSC’s
regulations, far exceed those steps reasonably required to protect the Utilities’ transmission
assets and the legitimate public interest in maintaining an uninterrupted flow of power through
the region.

O8: Based upon the size and location of many of the trees removed, the trees were not now, nor
in the future, likely to reach or otherwise interfere with the Utilities’ transmission lines &
towers.14

O9: The Utilities’ TVMP, as it is being implemented in the densely populated suburban
communities of Westchester and Rockland Counties, violates the real property rights of the
immediately affected property owners and otherwise adversely affects the legitimate land use
interests of these residents.

O10: There are equally important town, county and state laws that must be enforced and
honored, which regulate land usage, zoning, permits15, land preservation, easement agreements,
and trespassing outside of legal easements and rights-of-way, that are being violated and ignored
by the PSC and the Utilities in the adoption and implementation of this TVMP.

Now on to the analysis of specific questions posed by NYSPSC in Case 10-E-0155:

1. Do the programs used by State utilities for transmission ROW vegetation management
conform to industry best practices?

Best Practices must attempt to minimize the negative impacts from VM including, loss of noise
and privacy buffers, viewsheds, habitat, negative impacts on carbon sequestration and oxygen
generation, as well as address the issues of invasive plants & animals, storm water management
(flooding, erosion and sediment control, etc.) and water quality. This is especially important in
the context of global warming, climate change, and the urgent need for environmental
restoration.16

The urban and woodland tree canopy is a core asset requiring protection:17 Consider some of the
“ecosystem services” values provided by such trees: For every 5% of tree cover area added to a
community, stormwater run-off is reduced by approximately 2%. There can be a significant
volume reduction (7%) in the six-hour storm flow due to the combined effect of community tree

14
   See, e.g., photographs in Appendix A such as GB.2, GB.4, GB.6, PV.2, and YK.1.
15
   NYS DEC stormwater and erosion control permits, required for all disturbances greater than 2 acres, were
violated by the in-field contractors. Examples of this have been extensively documented by LORAX as occurring in
the Yorktown area. See, e.g., photograph YT.2, Appendix A.
16
   Benefits of Urban, Forest and Riparian Trees, [URL  http://www.plantit2020.org/benefits.html ].
17
   Dr. Rim D. Coder, Identified Benefits of Community Trees and Forests, University of Georgia, October 1996


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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

canopies. As a noise buffer, a measured 7db noise reduction per 100 feet of forest is due to trees
reflecting and absorbing sound energy (solid walls decrease sound by 15 db).

One unintended consequence of clear cutting the ROW is the problem of “blow over” – i.e.;
increased tree fall along the newly exposed (newly created) edges of recently cleared forested
woodlots. For a period of two or more years, such newly exposed trees (which have matured
within a wooded environment providing far denser protection from wind, sun and ice impacts)
show a much greater risk of failure during severe storm events. This has already occurred along
the ROW in Westchester, resulting in collateral private property damage.18 Thus
arboriculturalists do not consider such clear cutting to be a “best practice”.19

Several approaches must be combined in order to achieve the goal of embodying “best practices”
and thus minimize the cascade of negative impacts due to tree canopy loss and edge exposure
due to clear cutting. Additionally, the PSC needs to consider the question of whether or not
utilities (such as Con Edison in Westchester) actually follow their approved vegetative
management plans.20 In this context, lack of oversight, training and supervision of sub-
contractors as well as utility field staff remains an ongoing issue.

R6: Utilize a “tiered management” approach to wire zone - border zone ("wz-bz") methods that
take into account local site conditions and allows for increasingly taller vegetation in border zone
(as distance from wire zone increases and/or based upon local terrain variation).21

R7: Adhere to DEC General Permit requirements for the protection of water courses and
wetlands, as well as for stormwater, erosion and sediment control during and post VM
activities.22

R8: Implement an IVM plan that does not rely solely on use of herbicides post-clear cutting, but

18
   Sprainbrook Nursery reported that after the March 2010 storms, several newly exposed trees along the ROW
property line fell onto their greenhouses. Photograph GB.4, Appendix A.
19
   Matheny & Clark, International Society of Arboriculture, A Photographic Guide to the Evaluation of Hazard
Trees in Urban Areas (second edition) at 7-9 (1994)
20
   See LORAX Working Group submission to PSC Case 10-E-0155 entitled “Consolidated Edison Electric
Transmission Line Vegetation Management Plan: LORAX Analysis and Commentary” (dated 6/15/10).
21
   In requiring TOs to consider local conditions when determining clearance distances, the present NERC Standard
FAC-003-1 sensibly contemplates the potential for varying tree heights in a ROW, as site-specific factors warrant.
See Requirement R1.2.1, Clearance 1, NERC Standard FAC-003-1(eff. Apr. 7, 2006). The wire-zone/border zone
(wz/bz) and modified wz/bz concepts are well known and mentioned in many TVMPs, as well as in the supporting
material for the draft NERC standard. See NERC, Transmission Vegetation Management Standard FAC-003-2
Technical Reference, at 23-4 (Mar. 17, 2010). Present observations, though, do not show the border zone vegetation
that is typically described. The 2007 research note by Ballard et al. discusses site-specific application of wz/bz that
recognizes local conditions (e.g., topography, location at conductor span, etc.) in evaluating tree heights, B.D.
Ballard, K.T McLoughlin, C.A. Nowak, Research Note - New Diagrams and Applications of the Wire Zone-Border
Zone Approach to Vegetation Management on Electric Transmission Rights-of-Way, Journal of Arboriculture &
Urban Forestry, Vol. 36, No. 6 at 435-9 (Nov. 2007). See also Con Edison schematic at
http://www.coned.com/publicissues/treeguide3.asp [demonstrating increasing tree height with distance from
conductors].
22
   See NYSDEC website, Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity at
http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/43133.html and Construction Stormwater General Permit GP-0-10-001, available
at http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/gpsconspmt10.pdf .


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                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

also utilizes on-site survey by expert foresters to determine and mark vegetation to be targeted
prior to any removal activity. The goal is to minimize vegetation and ground disturbances to
deter the establishment and spread of invasive plants, combined with the timely reseeding and re-
planting of affected ROW areas.

R9: Conduct mitigation planning at project onset and in response to post-VM issues reported by
nearby property owners. Ensure any such planned or reported post-VM mitigation requirement is
implemented by TO within a reasonable time frame.

R10: Encourage on-going pruning and ANSI A300-compliant maintenance of trees, rather than
use of clear cutting, topping and herbicide application to reduce management costs. TOs should
revise VM program cycles, as appropriate, to allow these practices.23.

R11: Conduct more detailed environmental review of herbicide applications called for in
vegetation management planning. When required for IVM programs, only herbicides approved
by NYS DEC for use along wetlands and watercourses should be used, and such herbicides
should not be not be the sole mechanism for ROW maintenance. Furthermore, require
compliance with DEC regulations for backpack herbicide applications only along or within
sensitive water courses and wetland areas, when vegetation heights exceed 10’ or when winds
are above 10 mph.

R12: Provide better (clearer) notification of herbicide application through placement of more
signs along ROW, left in place for a longer period of time.24

R13: Require control of erosion and run-off that complies with NYSDEC permit requirements
and guidelines.25 NYSDEC regulations (Stormwater, E/SC) and General Permit infractions that
have been reported to date include:
   • Use of hydro-ax for tree clearing on ROW in wetland areas.26
   • Incursion into wetlands and water courses.27

23
   While the 2005 Order notes that cycle length would optimally vary based on utility ROW VM needs, these factors
should also be included in evaluating cycle length. See 2005 Order at 19. The Commission did not require a
specific program cycle length in Case 04-E-0822 but stated that Staff would closely monitor cycle length to see if
reductions are needed. Id.
24
   See photograph YT.1 in Appendix A. In the Yorktown area, signs were posted, but only provided 8 hours of
notification, far less than the 24 hours that DEC requires under 6 NYCRR Part 325.41, and contrary to Con Edison’s
TVMP. See Con Edison Land & Vegetation Management Plan (Feb. 6, 2007) at 45 [front of sign must state “Do
Not Remove Sign for 24 Hours”].
25
   For relevant NYSDEC stormwater permit, see note 22. For NYSDEC guidelines, see New York Standards and
Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Controls (August, 2005) , available
http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/29066.html; New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual (April,
2008), available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/29072.html; and Better Site Design manual , available at
http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/bsdcomplete.pdf .
26
   See photograph YT.4 in Appendix A. See also Case 10-E-0155 comments of Yorktown Utilities Oversight
Commission. Con Edison’s TVMP states such equipment is not usable on steep slopes or wetland areas. See Con
Edison 2007 TVMP at 49.
27
   See photograph PV.3 in Appendix A. In comments opposing Con Edison’s application for a NYSDEC General
Permit, Riverkeeper described impacts of Con Edison ROW management practices on wetlands and in the New


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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

    •    Unrestricted use of truck sprayers – rather than backpack sprayers in sensitive areas.28
    •    Failure to properly install and maintain adequate erosion and sediment control practices.29
    •    Failure to clean up debris (logs, branches, piles of wood chips) in a timely manner.30

R14: Require proper & timely removal and disposal of all debris generated by VM activities
within three weeks of occurrence, including but not limited to the remnants of any tree cut or
cleared from wetlands, water courses, easements or other right-of-ways. Wood chips must be
spread to a depth not-to-exceed 3 inches if left in situ.31

R15: Require on-going TVMP action to monitor the spread, remove and eliminate invasive
plants in the ROW and to manage white-tail deer population impacts due to ROW clearing.


2. At what point, at what height, or under what circumstances should the trees be removed
from the transmission ROW in order to protect the safety and reliability of the transmission
system?

Some of this information is already available to the utilities, such as in NERC “air gap”
requirements for arc prevention based upon differing line voltages and weather/temperature
conditions.32 In particular, the problems with tree removals have occurred because the PSC has
failed to fully revise its 2005 requirements in Case 04-E-0822 based upon the more recent
federal NERC guidelines33, and because the TOs have failed to follow Best Manangement
Practices (BMPs) described in the previous question and recommended by other agencies or
academics.34

One specific problem emerges as a result of the poorly defined concept of “priority zone” –

York City watershed. See May 12, 2005 Correspondence from Leila Goldmark, Esq., to John Ferguson, NYSDEC,
‘Riverkeeper Comments re: Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Permit Application No. 0-9999-
00111/00001. Note that NYSDEC has since established requirements under the MS4 permit program which affects
municipalities and certain other land owners concerning protection of water bodies. Corrective measures for water
body degradation will likely fall to municipal MS4 permittees under this program, even if the municipality is not the
pollution source.
28
   See Case 10-E-0155 comments of Yorktown Utilities Oversight Commission.
29
   See photographs YT.2 and YT.3 in Appendix A. See also May 12, 2005 Riverkeeper comments in note 27;
Correspondence from Kenneth Stahn to New York Governor David Paterson and New York Senator Andrea
Stewart-Cousins, posted to Case 04-E-0822 [describing impacts from run-off to his home from ROW management
by Con Edison].
30
   See photographs GB.3, GB.4 and PV.2 in Appendix A.
31
   See photograph GB.5 in Appendix A [showing deep wood chip pile]. Con Edison’s TVMP states chip piles are
typically less than 4 inch depth. See Con Edison 2007 TVMP at 51.
32
   See Requirement R1.2.2, Clearance 2, NERC Standard FAC-003-1, Transmission Vegetation Management
Program (eff. Apr. 7, 2006).
33
   NERC Standard FAC-003-1; The technical reference to the draft NERC standard FAC-003-2 provides minimum
voltage clearance distances (MVCDs) for and describes calculations using the Gallet equation. See Technical
Reference to FC-003-2 (Mar. 17, 2010) at 33-39.
34
   See, e.g., 2006 Memorandum of Understanding Between Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and USDA, USDOI, and
USEPA, available at http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/grants/eei_integrated_mgmt.htm . See also 2007 article by
Ballard, et al. in note 21.


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                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

which is undefined in the Case 04-E-0822 order.35 In public questioning, the DPS staff have
stated that this is a general term referring to the area of protective clearance around the wire zone
(greater than the FERC air gap clearance – see diagram below) such that any current or expected
vegetation growth occurring into this zone within the next VM cycle would represent a line
hazard – and thus requires immediate VM action to resolve and eliminate the risk.36 By this
definition, the priority zone is somewhat elastic in that risk is based upon possible growth
(affected by weather, rainfall and species type) within the next VM cycle, in conjunction with the
target VM cycle time as determined by the specific TO.

The confusion becomes apparent when the TO (such as Con Ed) responds to this same question
“What the ‘priority zone’?” and their public response has been that the priority zone is left to the
determination of the utility itself. Con Edison has defined the entire width of the ROW as its
“priority zone”.37 This example is obviously an extreme interpretation of the “priority zone”
concept, but clearly shows that such leeway effectively leaves the concept meaningless as a
regulatory control mechanism.




 Air gap = Clearance 2 (FERC FAC-003-1). Priority zone = Clearance 1 (FERC FAC-003-1)38

                        Diagram courtesy of Raritan Valley, NJ Sierra Club – modified by Lorax


35
   See clause 11, NYSPSC Order in Case 04-E-0822 (June 20, 2005) [“Any undesirable vegetation rooted within the
ROW that in any way encroaches into a priority zone shall be completely removed by each of the utilities to the
floor or ground-level of the ROW”].
36
   Discussed during public meeting organized by Yonkers City Council on March 25, 2010 at Grinton I. Will
Library in Yonkers.
37
   Stated by Con Edison representative at the March 25, 201 meeting referenced in note 36.
38
   This is an interpretation of the PSC “priority zone”, which is not a recognized term in NERC standard FAC-003-1.


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                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155


3. Are alternate or supplemental practices available which would reduce the environmental or
aesthetic impacts of transmission ROW vegetation management without compromising
transmission system safety or reliability?

See also above responses in question 1. The New Jersey regulations on transmission right-of-
way VM, adopted by the Bureau of Public Utilities, provide an interesting comparison.39 NJAC
Subchapter 9 provides definitions40, requires certified utility arborist qualifications41, permits
utilities to seek funds from municipalities or other agencies for conducting VM not otherwise
required42, specifies a minimum 4 year maintenance cycle43, lists relevant VM standards44,
defines minimum clearances45, requires safety and VM training for employees and contractors46,
requires public notices47 and outreach programs48, and specifies penalties49 for non-compliance
with the Subchapter provisions. There are numerous diagrams prepared by the Raritan Sierra
Club which clearly show the limits imposed by NERC standard, as well as illustrating a more
nuanced "tiered management" approach which looks at the simple geometry of risk (in terms of
tree location, required clearances and wire heights.).50

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) administers state regulations
on herbicide applications within ROWs, TVMP and annual program approvals, and public and
municipal notice and comment.51 Title 11 defines terms52, requires MDAR review of long-term
VM plans and yearly operating plans (YOPs)53, describes allowable bodies, protected waters,
private wells or special species habitats54, requires public notice, and opportunity for review and
comment on utility VM plans and YOPs, including municipal notifications55, requires public
notification prior to application56, establishes an appeals process57, specifies penalties58, and
creates a ROW advisory panel59. Perhaps recognizing the substantial public interest in herbicide
usage on ROWs, the largest Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility, NSTAR, states in its
TVMP that it will only use herbicides approved for use in sensitive areas along the entire ROW

39
   See New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) 14:5-9.1 to 14:5-9.10, Electric Utility Line Vegetation
Management.
40
   NJAC 14:5-9.2, Definitions.
41
   NJAC 14:5-9.3(d).
42
   NJAC 14:5-9.3(f).
43
   NJAC 14:5-9.4(b).
44
   NJAC 14:5-9.5, Technical Standards for Vegetation Management.
45
   NJAC 14:5-9.6, Transmission Line Vegetation Management.
46
   NJAC 14:5-9.7, Training, Recordkeeping, and Reporting.
47
   NJAC 14:5-9.8, Public Notice of Planned Vegetation Management Activity.
48
   NJAC 14:5-9.9, Outreach Programs.
49
   NJAC 14:5-9.10, Penalties. Section 14:5-9.10( b) sets a maximum penalty of $100/day per violation.
50
   See http://newjersey.sierraclub.org/RaritanValley/bpu_veg_mgmt.asp .
51
   333 CMR 11.00-11.11, Rights of Way Management.
52
   333 CMR 11.02, Definitions.
53
   333 CMR 11.03(2).
54
   333 CMR 11.03, General Provisions; 333 CMR 11.04, Sensitive Area Restrictions.
55
   333 CMR 11.05, Vegetation Management Plan (VMP); 333 CMR 11.06, Yearly Operational Plan (YOP).
56
   333 CMR 11.07, Public Notification.
57
   333 CMR 11.09, Right-of-Appeal.
58
   333 CMR 11.10, Penalties.
59
   333 CMR 11.11, Rights-of-Way Advisory Panel.


                                                     10
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

it manages.60

The regulations in New Jersey and Massachusetts contain provisions and requirements that can
help mitigate impacts and/or improve input on ROW management programs. Such provisions
    • Define terms and concepts in a definitions section
    • Provide minimum qualifications for arborists and contractors
    • Specify allowable herbicide application methods
    • Conduct public notice, review and comment for TVMP and annual plans
    • Establish an appeal procedure on proposed plans
    • Increase public outreach and notification
    • Establish penalties for non-compliance

In conjunction with actual site tree surveys and bioassays61, selective removal, scheduled pruning
management cycles and proper arboricultural training for in-field work crews and supervisors
would result in the avoidance or elimination of clear cutting practices and all of the resulting
issues and problems associated with this practice. Such enhanced practices would greatly reduce
the needed follow-on mitigation, as well.

R16: Preserve “non-offensive” (desirable) vegetation, including the adoption of a “tiered”
management scheme in and adjacent to ROW which takes into account local site conditions and
allows for increasingly taller vegetation in border zone (as distance from wire zone increases
and/or based upon local terrain variation).

R17: Remove the “Priority Zone” loophole in PSC guidelines through stricter definition of this
term. See diagram below for example of a tiered management approach which meets Federal
regulations.

R18: Adjust ROW evaluation and VM to site-specific, local conditions as described in the
“Modified WZ-BZ” approach and elsewhere62 within this response document. Prohibit
unconstrained clear-cutting across the ROW in all circumstances.63




60
   NSTAR Electric & Gas Five Year Vegetation Management Plan, 2008-2012, available at
http://www.mass.gov/agr/pesticides/rightofway/vmp/NSTAR-VMP-2008-2012.pdf.
61
   A fine example of a regional bio-assessment program can be found in the Biodiversity Assessment Manual for the
Hudson River Estuary, published by the non-profit research and educational organization Hudsonia. [ URL 
http://hudsonia.org ]. Phone: (845)758-7053.
62
   See, e.g., note 20 above.
63
   Acute examples of ROW clearcutting are shown in photographs GB.6, PV.2, and YK.1 of Appendix A.


                                                       11
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




       •
                                 Diagram courtesy of Raritan Valley, NJ Sierra Club


R19: Retain and maintain sight lines and integrity of the residential appearance including
benefits derived from adequate shade canopy.64

R20: Retain and maintain vegetation providing wind and noise abatement, as well as any
vegetation functioning as riparian buffers or specialized environmental function.65

R21: Preserve woodland, riparian and wetland habitats to the greatest extent possible. Minimize
disturbance of “wetland chains” which provide important amphibian habitat corridors.66


64
   For examples of impacted sight lines and/or lost shade canopy, see photographsYK-1 & YK-2 of the ROW
corridor along Remsen Road in Yonkers in Appendix A.
65
   See, e.g., photographs GB-4, GB-7, GB-8, Diagram 3, and PV-3 in Appendix A.
66
   Wetland chains are chains of small water bodies and wetlands interconnected by one or more streams. The
Croton to Highlands Biodiversity Plan (CBHP) describes such habitat corridors in northwestern Westchester County
and southwestern Putnam County, through which the Con Edison transmission lines traverse. The CBHP is
available at on the Cary Institute website at http://www.ecostudies.org/mca_chbp.html. For a description of the
unusual diversity of turtle species in this region and vernal pools, see articles by Mike Rubbo, Ph.D., Teatown
Nature and Education Center Director of Environmental Stewardship, at
http://www.teatown.org/pdf/article_2010_Taking_Pride_in_Turtles.pdf,
http://www.teatown.org/pdf/article_Vernal_Pools.pdf.


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              LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

R22: NYSPSC must ensure clear understanding of, and compliance with, updated VM policy by
all transmission utilities and contractors. TVMPs must clearly reflect PSC policies.

R23: TOs must conduct stricter oversight, training and on-site management of subcontractors
hired to implement the TVMP.

R24: NYSPSC must conduct stricter oversight of TVMP projects-in-progress (not just year-end
summary reports) through on-site inspections during any on-going VM activities.

R25: Impose fines or other sanctions when a utility or its contractors fail to follow in detail the
approved TVMP and local SEQR EIS mitigation plans and which may result in a ”stop work”
order until required corrections have been made and approved at the site in question or within the
VM project plan (taken as a whole).

R26: Require a clearly outlined and publicly documented incident escalation mechanism by
which residents and municipal officials can contact responsible supervisory personnel – utility
and PSC - at any time (7 days a week) during VM operations.


4. If supplemental vegetation management practices are preferred by a community through
which transmission ROW passes, how should the community preference for such practices be
demonstrated? How should the costs of such practices be distributed to or divided among the
utility which owns the transmission line, the ratepayers for that utility, the users of the
transmission line, the community through which the transmission line passes, and the owners
of properties adjacent to the transmission line?

Why are good practices presumed to be more expensive than clear cutting and repeated herbicide
application cycles? Furthermore, a "one size fits all" plan is not appropriate when
transmission lines pass through so many disparate communities throughout the state. Decisions
about impacts and mitigations must thus occur at each municipality, not across the system as a
whole. However, that said, the general requirements for mitigation should be clearly outlined by
the PSC and must be reflected in each TO’s TVMP.

These practices should not be regarded as supplemental but as BMPs for the environment, as
well as for the health and well-being of adjacent communities. Thus, the costs must be borne as
part of the plan itself, not as an after-the-fact fee leveraged on specific communities.

Note that it is equally unreasonable to expect individual property owners or municipalities to
“pick up the tab” after-the-fact for necessary mitigation and restoration caused by a utility’s
unconstrained or under-supervised VM activity. In effect, such actions create an "unfunded
mandate" upon property owners.

R27: Fund mitigation expenses (e.g., replanting) for past action out of utility profit margins
rather than from electric rate increases. NYSPSC utilized this approach in recently fining



                                                13
                   LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

NYSEG for a 2008 outage on a 345 kV transmission line.67 This ensures that the excessive,
unwarranted activities that necessitate mitigation will be minimized in TO VM activities.
However, mitigation planning and implementation should be regularly factored into future ROW
management activities, which would obtain regular funding from electric rates.

R28: Develop a program whereby ratepayers may contribute to a mitigation / replanting fund.
This could be a simple optional $1 “Re-Leaf” contribution checkbox on a monthly utility bill.
Or, develop a utility contribution based upon ratepayer opt-in to electronic billing and payment.
All such contributed monies would be directed to in-region (local) ROW restoration only.

R29: Create a scaled contribution funding approach that applies to larger energy consumers
which is based upon actual energy usage. For example, if a customer spends $5000-$9999 per
year, the monthly contribution rate would be $10. A yearly rate of $10,000-$49,999 would
contribute $50 (and so forth.)


5. In what ways can a utility mitigate the impact of its transmission ROW management
practices without sacrificing electric system safety and reliability?

As discussed in responses to the previous questions, more careful, intelligent management of the
ROW vegetation through mechanisms such as the “tiered” management model and ANSI A300
level pruning during more frequent VM cycles will provide the maximum benefit by helping to
minimize extreme impacts and thus the amount and type of mitigation required. Also, control of
invasive and noxious species is required.

Better oversight of both the TO (by the PSC) and of contractors (by the utility) and adherence to
current DEC and industry BMPs would be a start. More timely oversight in-field as work is on-
going, not solely in the form of an annual report (self-reported by utility), would also be
beneficial.

Note that specific mitigation is based upon the impacts and losses caused along a specific
segment of the ROW (and thus to one or more properties in an area). Mitigation and restoration
would thus have to address the “whole picture” locally, not work piecemeal one property at a
time.

Mitigation includes replanting of appropriate native species, as well as informed IVM of ROW
to allow generation of a stable native community (rather than being overtaken by invasive plants
and animals). Mitigation may also require built solutions to manage increased runoff, flooding
and sedimentation, for example, or to protect valuable wetland resources, corridors and habitats.


6. Are there cost effective strategies available to utilities to mitigate the aesthetic impacts of
transmission ROW management?

67
     See discussion of Item 301-B, Case 09-M-0427, at April 15, 2005 NYSPSC transcript at 56.


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                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

Yes. The current strategy employed by the utilities is to pass these costs off onto the local
property owners and municipalities by default – through inaction or unwillingness to negotiate or
arbitrate fair mitigation. Thus these costs are not currently being factored into the “real cost” of
the approved TVMP or of annual VM operational budgets.

“Tiered management” (as described previously) and selective, carefully & intelligently applied
IVM could be used to maintain view buffers, watershed buffers, riparian buffers and edge-of-
road buffers. Clear cutting by default must cease as an option! As noted, proper BMPs and
arboricultural practices (such as relying on pruning rather than removal) should actually reduce
mitigation requirements and limit the (costly) spread of unwanted invasives due to ensuring
reduced ground disturbance.

The projected cost of this mitigation should be included in the total cost of the annual VM plan
and all rate payers should contribute. However, this should not be viewed as an open checkbook:
Failure to comply with approved TVMP, DEC permits, BMPs. etc., especially those resulting in
unexpected or extensive mitigation, should result in fines of TOs and their contractors. Such
fines should not come out of operational (budgeted) funds nor be back-charged to rate-payers,
but rather should come directly from corporate profits – as shareholder concern for the “bottom
line” is ultimately the best mechanism to ensure compliance. Furthermore, special considerations
must be given to state and locally defined open spaces, view sheds, parkland, watershed
conservation buffers, and so forth.

Based upon sample mitigation performed during May 2010 by Con Edison in the Sprain Road
area68, LORAX has developed a rough model by which to calculate mitigation expenses:

        6000 property owners abut ROW in Westchester69.

        10% = 600 properties70.

        Average mitigation is 75 linear feet of ROW property line. Consisting of 2 rows of
        evergreens (Norway Spruce71) on 7 ft centers = 22 trees. We round up to 25 trees.

        Wholesale price of 6-7' tree is $100 in quantity72.

        We will use 2x plant cost to include additional materials (mulch, etc.), delivery and labor.

        Which totals $5000 per site for mitigation.

Thus, a rough budget for mitigation (plants only) resulting from clear cutting of woodland
buffers comes to:
68
   See photo GB.8 and Diagram 3 of Sprain Road replanting in Appendix A.
69
   Estimation based upon map and tax record analysis performed by Senator Stewart-Cousin’s office.
70
   We do not have an exact figure of percentage of “complaints vs. properties passed” actually reported in
Westchester, so we have taken 10% to be a reasonable low-end assumption.
71
   Norway Spruce in non-native but deer resistant. What other choices would be possible? The affected stakeholders
(nearby property owners) were not consulted in this instance. Note also that monoculture planting is to be avoided.
72
   From Hardscrabble Farms, Inc. 2010 wholesale price list.


                                                        15
                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155


         $3 million for full mitigation budget.

This represents a low-end value as it excludes the costs of constructed buffers (fences) and/or
erosion, sediment control and stormwater mitigation, which may require construction and
maintenance of drainage, bio-filtration ponds and other NYSDEC Blue Book best practices.


R30: Require TVMP plans to include mandatory replanting and restoration plans (on ROW or
adjacent properties), whereby any significant tree removed as undesirable is replaced with a
more desirable, preferably native, and right-of-way compatible species (and not by seedlings but
rather more mature trees.) The goal is ecosystem / habitat recovery73.

R31: Require each TO to provide bonding for mitigation. Performance bond period of 2 years
for plants, 3 years for construction/grading/drainage/hardscape. In some cases, a maintenance
plan may be required, as well.

R32: Require TVMP plans to include immediate reseeding (with expert approved mixes
providing high wildlife value) of all disturbed and/or cleared ground.

R33: Implementation of mitigation/compensation plans for all affected properties along ROW
should occur and be completed within 6 months of VM activity.


7. Is cleanup after utility ROW management activities adequate?

NO, as has been documented already. Complaints have been made to the NYCDEP, NYSDEC
and the NYSPSC. There appears to have been many violations of DEP and DEC permit
requirements. For example, leaving debris blocking intermittent water courses and leaving wood
chips piled over 24” thick in work areas.74

R34: Require removal and disposal of all debris generated by recent VM activities. Require
TOs to remove debris within 3 weeks of VM work.


8. What type of notifications regarding vegetation management do utilities currently employ?
What type of notification by utilities would be most effective for landowners who live adjacent
to a ROW prior to utility transmission ROW vegetation management work (for example:
phone call, letter, newspaper, other)? When and how frequently should such notice be
provided? Should others, besides adjacent property owners, be notified? What information

73
   In densely populated areas such as along the Catskill Aqueduct in Westchester, there should be a target density of
trees per acre in restoration areas, determined so as to reflect current research on the necessary density of trees (and
species mix of trees) to achieve the best health and survivability within our urban forests.
74
   See photographs PV.2, PV.3 in Appendix A. See also photographs GB.3 and GB.5 showing debris piles.


                                                           16
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

should be provided in such notices?

The State Senate and Assembly are reviewing legislation to provide for a 60 day general
notification of all property owners (along a ROW) and a 30 day advanced public meeting for the
entire local community to review the utility’s plans.75

Current notification typically consists of a post card and perhaps a door hanger which is sent out
several weeks to a few days ahead of operations. Additionally, a ‘notification forester” or field
supervisor is supposed to be in direct contact with all property owners along the ROW, collecting
signatures so to ensure notification has occurred.

There have been many reports of Con Edison failing to properly or clearly notify property
owners as to the full extent of the VM plans, including clear cutting and associated impacts along
the entire width of the ROW and into private lands. In response to these issues and complaints,
Con Edison has recently modified what they say they are doing in their 'notice' procedures as
documented on their web site76 and in handouts provided to (Yorktown) residents.77 However,
this is a voluntary policy adjustment, not a mandated one, so questions still exist as to the
effectiveness of the changes in terms of guaranteeing notification, as well as to the clarity of the
message itself.

But in addition to simple notification, the process must include discussions of impacts,
mitigation planning and agreement. An ideal process would be to ensure some form of the state
SEQR EIA/EIS review of any proposed TVMP is performed for each community (municipality)
to be affected.

What oversight will PSC propose to ensure 100% notification occurs? What mandate will PSC
propose to require reasonable environmental analysis, consideration of alternatives, discussion of
mitigation and multi-party agreement or arbitration (on proposed mitigation)?

R35: Provide timely communication and notification in writing to property owners and impacted
communities and an opportunity for public input prior to work commencing in a community. The
60 and 30 day provisions of current “notification” bills S.7962A and A.10003 in the state
legislature are good examples of required notification.78 Another example is the required
notification in Massachusetts, described above.79

R36: Define an arbitration process at the local municipal level where alternatives to proposed
TVMP plans may be considered and issues resolved (including both private and municipal


75
   See S.7962A, amending Gen. Muni. Law Section 96-b (Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins) [approved from committee
and presently on Senate calendar ; concerns tree cutting only]; A.10003, adding Pub. Service Law Section 66-m
(Assemblyman Richard Brodsky) [presently in committee; concerns tree cutting and vegetation management].
76
   See Con Edison’s Tree Guide at http://www.coned.com/publicissues/treeguide_intro.asp .
77
  See “Vegetation Management on Con Edison’s Transmission Line Rights-of-Way”, available at
http://www.coned.com/publicissues/PDF/Vegetation%20Management%20Standard%20Communication%20Document.pdf.
78
   See legislation referenced in note 75.
79
   333 CMR 11.05, Vegetation Management Plan (VMP); 333 CMR 11.06, Yearly Operational Plan (YOP).


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                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

stakeholders). The scope should include all envisioned or unexpected VM environmental,
property, aesthetic impacts.80

R37: Require full public SEQR EIA/EIS environmental review with associated dispute
resolution, mitigation requirements and restitution measures in any revision of PSC VM policy
and for any current (on-going) or future line clearing policy or action.

R38: Require full survey and marking of ROW and adjacent property boundaries, delineation of
wetlands, watercourse buffers, protected habitats (based upon bioassay of rare, endangered or
protected species) or other special features, and marking of all affected vegetation before any
removals occur, preferably as part of the notification process and before completion of any
EIA/EIS review.

R39: Require full SEQR analysis of and calculation of impacts from NYSPSC requirements for
Transmission ROW VM practices, including biological assessment of current ROW conditions,
esp. regarding areas and buffers identified in R36 surveys (above), and assessment of other
relevant environmental factors such as loss of carbon sequestration, loss of oxygen generation,
reduced stormwater mitigation effectiveness, etc. The materials collectively describe the full
impact on ecosystem services and thus must serve as the basis for required mitigation.


9. Apart from such notices, what information should utilities provide to the owners of property
adjacent to utility transmission ROW to suggest strategies or practices a landowner may use to
protect his or her land from the aesthetic impacts of transmission ROW maintenance, and at
what intervals and through what should this information be provided?

In reality, there is typically not much an adjacent landowner can do to protect property from such
impacts – the tree removal and initial ecological damage occurs mainly within the ROW (utility
easement). Effects such as stormwater runoff, flooding, sediment erosion and so forth flow from
there onto the adjacent lands. Loss of view and noise buffers, temperature impacts, pollution
impacts and loss of habitat again occur within the ROW proper, but effectively “reach out” to
surrounding lands. This is also true of problems emerging from unchecked spread of invasive
plants and nuisance animals.

Thus, the single most effective mechanism to protect adjacent landowners from negative effects
is to actually reduce reliance on clear cutting and wide-scale ground disturbance activities within
the ROW during VM, and if such impacts are envisioned or occur unexpectedly, then strong
mitigation requirements would help provide protections, as well.

R40: Require on-going monitoring of sites post-VM so as to provide early detection of
stormwater and erosion issues – or to detect failure of installed mitigation.

80
  In addition, as noted in R4 above, the State legislature and/or the PSC must consider a program of mitigation to
restore buffers and minimize environmental damages incurred by private property owners and municipalities during
the current cycle of vegetation management (2007-2010).


                                                        18
                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155


R41: Require re-planting mitigation by TO both off-ROW and on-ROW, assuming a palette of
compatible native species is specified81.



Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments on this important matter. Please contact us
at (914) 714-3056 or via email (lorax@markg.org) with questions, etc. Please also confirm
receipt of this Case 10-E-0155 response material submission.

Very truly yours,




Mark Gilliland
GEF LORAX Working Group, chairperson

Email: LORAX@markg.org

Contributors include:
Mark Gilliland, Chris Crane, Patricia Podolak, Marvin Baum, Susan Porcino, Anne Jaffe
Holmes, Walter Rodriguez, Amy Kupferberg, David Bedell

Attachments: Appendix A – Supporting Photographic Documentation

Document Release: 6/15/10




81
  Any selection or list of plant materials (native or otherwise) for use in mitigation must be reviewed and approved
before inclusion in a TVMP by an appropriate expert organization, such as by the Native Plant Center. Such lists are
not valid statewide and may vary based upon climate region or local micro-climatic conditions (sun, water, soil
type). Concern for the impact of deer herbivory (etc.) must also be considered in application of any such list.


                                                         19
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155

          Appendix A – Supporting Photographic Documentation




Map 1 – Depiction of Con Edison’s 345 kV Transmission Lines on ROWs running north/south through densely
        populated areas of Westchester County and into Putnam County (based on a review of aerial maps provided
        on Google Earth).




                                                      20
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




       GB.1 – General view of deforestation along the Catskill Aqueduct near Sprain Road in Greenburgh.




GB.2 – View along Aqueduct near Grasslands Road in Greenburgh showing utility access road and asymmetrical
       clear cutting leaving a much narrower margin on the right side of the ROW. Also shows excessively wide
       “priority zone” buffer on the left side of ROW. Vegetation management has not taken into account the
       varying terrain elevations vis-à-vis wire zone and overhead wires.




                                                     21
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




GB.3 – Windrowing of clear cut debris along ROW edge near County office building on left.




GB.4 – Remaining single line of private trees along ROW edge in the Sprain Road area. Sprainbrook Nursery later
       reported that several of these trees fell due to “blow down” effects during the winter storms of March 2010,
       resulting in extensive damage to some greenhouses. (See Diagram 2 below.)



                                                        22
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




Diagram 1 – Original (pre Fall 2009) width of ROW clearance in Sprain Road area shown in GB.4.




Diagram 2 – Estimated width of expanded ROW (post 2009) based upon onsite visual inspection. (Sprainbrook
            Nursery greenhouses can be seen on the left of these images.)



                                                      23
                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




GB.5 – Post clear-cut chipping of debris in Sprain Road area. Note that the wood chip piles shown in the lower
       image were measured to be 24” deep in some areas of the ROW.




                                                        24
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




GB.6 – Ridge Road area of ROW showing removal of wide woodland buffers, resulting in local residents’ exposure
       to unfiltered Sprain Parkway noise, exhaust pollution and headlights.




GB.7 – Nearby (south of GB.6) along the Sprain Parkway, showing 3 newly planted trees intended to act as
      mitigation for the removed wooded buffers. Removal in this area occurred illegally on Town of Greenburgh
      easement without prior approval or notification.



                                                      25
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




GB.8 – Replanting in the Ridge Road area of Greenburgh (north of GB.6) along the Sprain Parkway. Note that
      these trees have been planted on DOT easements. Note also that due to the small size of these evergreens,
      the intended mitigation for noise, pollution (etc.) from the Parkway on nearby residents will take years to
      become effective.



                                                       26
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




Diagram 3 – Area of limited replanting (indicated by white line) along Sprain Parkway near Ridge Road along the
            Sprain Parkway (as shown in GB.8). Red zone indicates reported extent of clear cutting of existing
            (mature) visual, noise and pollution control “green” buffers.




GB.9 –Area north of GB.8 along the Sprain Parkway showing lack of additional mitigation along viewshed.



                                                      27
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




Diagram 4 – Negative impacts on property value occurred due to removal of privacy screening and noise buffers.
            This is the Underhill Road area (Vandalay Court) near Sprainbrook Nursery. Red zone indicates
            approximate extent of clear cutting. White arrow shows camera angle POV. Bottom photo shows
            current view (as indicated on diagram). The photo can not capture the full impact resulting from the
            exposure of this small development of multi-million dollar MacMansions.




                                                      28
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




PV.1 - Nannahagen Park in Pleasantville showing destruction of mature shade trees and visual buffers.




PV.2 – ROW in Pleasantville showing access road, piles of clear cut trees along the ROW edge and overly wide
       “priority zone” buffer clearing in regards to the transmission lines located on left.




                                                        29
                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




PV.3 – Pleasantville area (near Park) showing vegetation debris left in water course in violation of DEC General
       Permit / stormwater requirements.




                                                         30
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YK.1 – Remsen Road, Yonkers, showing negative property value impacts due to excessive clear cutting of visual
       buffer along the ROW. (See diagram below for camera angle.)




Diagram 5 – Remsen Road looking southeast (camera POV shown by white arrow). The red zone indicates a small
            part of the overall clear cutting which occurred along the Remsen Road section of transmission lines.



                                                       31
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YK.2 – Remsen Road, Yonkers, showing a before (above) and after (below) view of impacts of green buffer
removal.


                                                      32
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YT.1 – Yorktown area, 2010, showing non-DEC-compliant pesticide notification posted along the ROW.




                                                     33
                LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YT.2 – Yorktown area, 2010, showing excessive erosion and runoff, documenting the lack of required DEC General
       Permit erosion and sediment controls that must be in place during construction or disturbance activity.




                                                     34
                 LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YT.3 – Yorktown area, circa 2006, showing increased stormwater runoff and flooding from the ROW (left of wall –
       lower frame) onto private property (right of wall – lower frame). The increase in runoff is directly traceable
       to multiple cycles of clear cutting of the ROW (since 2004). The mitigation provided by the utility for these
       stormwater impacts has failed repeatedly, leading to more severe consequences such as sink holes.


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               LORAX policy and regulations analysis for PSC Case 10-E-0155




YT.4 – Yorktown, 2010, showing Hydroax which was used extensively along the ROW in environmentally sensitive
       areas including wetlands and in the Baldwin Rd. area along steep slopes.


                                                    36

				
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