Vol. 10, No. 9

February 28 - March 6, 2002

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Janet and the Chainsaw Gang

We had a memorable experience of our own with Baltimore Gas and Electric tree-pruners a few years back.

When they turned off their saws, our stately maple looked like a teen-aged boy with a botched Mohawk. Or maybe one of those foo-foo show dogs that had escaped the groomer mid-cut.
We raised a bit of a stink at both the devastation along our road and the attitude of BG&E’s out-of-state contractor.

Since then, the trimmers have left our part of Chesapeake Country alone. But we’re bracing for their return.

Elsewhere, especially in Crownsville, we’ve been seeing evidence that the trimmers are running amok again.

That’s why we were pleased to hear that, as a result of complaints from Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, BG&E has suspended work along Generals Highway.
Owens minced no words when she referred to the cutting as “an atrocity” and an embarrassment to the county.

Like Owens, we understand the need to minimize the potential of power outages from ice-laden limbs landing on power lines. She would be getting phone calls aplenty (us, too) if folks couldn’t power up their computers and microwaves.

But there’s got to be a better way than wielding chain-saws in vendettas against the trees of Chesapeake Country. Not only do trees do a powerful job of protecting the Bay, they’re the homes of our wild neighbors and the source of much of the beauty of our vistas.

Beyond complaining about over-pruning and lack of supervision, Owens took a constructive path. She said that the utility should communicate better in areas where it is cutting and also consider planting bushes to cover the unsightly swaths of earth left behind.

We commend Owens for flexing her official muscle in this matter. Besides being the right thing to do, getting tough with big companies certainly can’t hurt Owens’ re-election hopes.

Such actions help balance Owens’ mixed reputation in dealing with development. In attempting to chart what she sees as middle ground, she has alienated some environmental advocates who see open space and Chesapeake Country’s quality of life slipping irrevocably away.

But telling BG&E to tame its buzz saws could help win back supporters, not to mention help preventing our maples and oaks from looking like hastily shorn poodles.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly