Jarret Liotta: CL&P, Spare That Tree!

Jarret Liotta is a 1983 Staples grad. He’s now a writer (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Connecticut Magazine among many credits), and a blogger.

Recently, he wrote about his close encounter with the CL&P tree guys. Here’s an excerpt:

Jarret Liotta

How ironic it was to return home on Earth Day to find a representative of  Connecticut Light and Power tagging trees in our neighborhood for take-down. (CL&P apparently hires local “gardening” businesses to do this sort of work, and I have to assume — it only makes sense — that the more trees they cut down — the more they tag —  the more money they can make.)

So it shouldn’t have surprised me that he was suggesting a beautiful, large healthy tree at the corner of our property — at least 12 feet off the lines, and in no way presenting a danger — be given the ax (or chainsaw, as it were).

What was also hysterical (and frightening) was that the CL&P flyer — entitled “You Can Help Prevent Power Outages” — ONLY talked about PRUNING trees, and referenced their “tree-trimming program.” But on the enclosed permission sheet — the empowering written consent form that CL&P NEEDS to do their dirty work — they had a little line checked for “taking down,” with the numeral “1” next to it.

Were you to see the tree, you’d laugh that CL&P (or in this case, its paid assassin) would even TRY to argue this lovely life form should be taken down. But what’s so scary is that — and I have no doubt — many people throughout the town, throughout the whole state, are going to quickly sign these consent forms without even realizing it means they’re going to kill a healthy tree simply because 1) the tree killers will make more money and 2) it may save CL&P trouble in the long run.

Jarret Liotta is not a big fan of tree cutting. (Note: This is NOT Jarret Liotta.)

The carelessness with which people take axes to healthy trees — ESPECIALLY so-called gardeners and tree caretakers, ironically — is pitiful. Modern housing construction starts with clear-cutting lots, rather than trying to design structures that work in tandem with the natural world (meaning big, beautiful trees).

Homeowners consider fine landscaping cutting down everything that makes shade and grows on the ground, planting the most artificial-looking chemical-saturated grass money can buy, and surrounding it all with wood chips, wood chips, wood chips — the stinkier, the better!

On a parallel note, the state is taking great steps to cut down as many trees as possible along the scenic Merritt Parkway. Apparently everyone is feeling paranoid because of some lawsuits involving trees and death and storms, so the logic is to always blame the trees (because we can’t blame the state, or the drivers), and so they must be cut down en masse, and scenery, nature and trees be damned …

(To read Jarret’s entire post, click here.)

20 responses to “Jarret Liotta: CL&P, Spare That Tree!

  1. I think it should be a law that you can’t clear a building lot of all the trees to build a house.

    • Of course you do; how special. We can all think of laws we would like to see to make people behave as we want them to behave irrespective of their prefeences

  2. JohnnyWadd

    This guy has no idea what he’s talking about.
    That is very clear.

  3. The Town of Westport ain’t much better. The fines they charge developers for cutting down Town Trees are a joke. Collusion? It’s all about the budget, the trees be damned.

  4. This guy has no clue what he’s talking about.
    The power companies are not conspiring against the trees. They are in business to keep power operating from their transformers to your house. So we all have the power we love so dearly and depend upon and bitch is not there when a tree limb falls on it. Love the idiocy. Please save it for a blog I don’t go to for irreverence and interesting info.

  5. Any idea how to get them to come to our block? We have a ton of trees growing through the power lines. I have requested trimming several times, but I never get anywhere.

  6. The author writes for the NY Times? I doubt it.

  7. Trimming… YES

  8. having had a live town tree hit my house and go through my roof a few years ago and then another 80 foot tree fall on my property at my expense i would say that taking the trees down has more to do with the loss of power and the liability that the town has to keep people safe.
    It’s not about making money it’s about saving lives

  9. Talking of butchering, isn’t it time to get rid of some of the 4-legged vermin, like deer!


  10. Most of the comments here sadly emphasize an underlying message in Jarret’s fine piece: It’s a shame we can’t all live in more sustainable, compatible ways and learn that life is far more enjoyable when we get to know and share our space with other living things like giant oaks, maples, hickories, white pines, hemlock and other beautiful trees! As for the person who says we need to cut them down to save lives: What next? Drain all our oceans, lakes and rivers so no one drowns? Kill all the bears so no one is ever again attacked? Perhaps we should remove power lines and close roads so that no one is ever again electrocuted or hit by a car . . . .

    • Maybe we should just cut down the trees that are a threat, and maybe we should let those who own the trees decide which trees pose a threat. Drain the oceans., that’s funny. The Nanny state forces us to do many equally absurd things in its effort to save us from ourselves.

  11. Jamie Walsh

    Like everything in life there is a balance…

  12. anonymous2

    Wait, wait, let’s also clear cut most of the trees down at Mahakano to build a new superstucture while altering the beautiful historic Merritt parkway in an even more grotesque manner so that traffic can flow there. By the way the real vermin are of the two legged variety that move to Westport and purchase the plastic nouveau riche McMansions placed on the chemical soaked turf devoid of trees. Deer were rarely seen here before massive development, they were in the woods. Now they simply have no where else to go. As for power interuption, If CL&P had not made huge cuts to their labor force, power could have been restored in a timely fashion as it always has been through much bigger storms in years past. Cutting down trees is simply a cost “cutting”, profit generating measure made at everyone’s expense without any regard for environmental impact.

  13. Jamie Walsh

    As I said before…common sense and balance come into play…part of the problem is many people who move from elsewhere or are first time”home buyers” have little knowledge or never figured into the equation that properly maintaining your property and trees is well…a line item in your budget so trees are not trimmed…dead wood is not removed, and diseased conditions go unnoticed. Utility’s need to properly maintain their lines and should be responsible for what is in the public right of way and any encroachments by others. We can only hope that the two concepts above would one day find a balance.