Residents are upset with British Petroleum’s plans to remove trees and bushes from Centerville’s Village South neighborhood to have access to a pipeline for emergency situations.
BP says it needs to remove the trees to allow aerial access to the pipeline which sometimes is covered with fallen trees. The pipeline was built in the 1950s, said press officer Mike Abdendoff.
Residents say losing the trees will change the character of the neighborhood.
“This is not one of those brand new neighborhoods where they build a whole bunch of new houses and plant little twigs in the ground,” said Eric Thompson, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years. “We’ve got old beautiful trees here and they want to come cut a big scar through the neighborhood. “
The gas company is doing similar projects in other parts of the country. Removing the trees is a part of right-of-way maintenance.
“We routinely fly the right-of-way to perform visual inspections to help ensure safe and reliable operations.” Abendoff said. “This includes mowing, tree and shrub trimming and in some cases removal.”
The number of trees that will be removed has not been announced. Residents say they are organizing and would like to see if they can compromise with the company.
“We understand if one or two trees have to be cut down,” said Carla Schulty,who is also lives in the neighborhood. “But we don’t want all of them to go down.”
Residents also want studies to be conducted to see if removing the trees will impact local wildlife. Tom Gebbie said the only tree he has in his backyard will be removed and he worries that his rights are being violated.
“It is something my neighbors and I are looking into more,” Gebbie said. “We don’t want a big company to cut down our tress so they can do what they want.