D'Agostino leads passage of bill limiting removal of trees along highways

May 23, 2017

­State Rep. Mike D’Agostino, D-Hamden, led passage of House Bill 6123, which would provide more oversight over the tree removal work being completed by the state Department of Transportation on Connecticut’s highways.

The bill, which D’Agostino introduced and co-sponsored with state Sen. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, passed out of the House of Representatives in a 139-10 vote. H.B. 6123 now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Under this legislation, DOT would be required to develop detailed guidelines – to be approved and reviewed by an arborist – that will govern DOT’s management of trees and vegetation along the state’s highways.

“Our treescape is one of our most critical natural resources. It is vital that we put the necessary policies in place to protect that resource. This bill would not only protect trees from excessive and unnecessary removal, but it will also ensure we are spending state funds wisely,” D’Agostino said.

In the past, DOT has spent $2 million a year removing trees, without any concrete plan for the removal of debris, and re-planting to prevent invasive species or ground erosion.

“Unnecessary tree removal ruins the state’s natural beauty and leads to the growth of invasive and damaging species of weeds and other growth. This bill is one of the many ways we can protect our habitat,” D’Agostino said.