Tree Work Bill Advances

March 22, 2016

A bill authored by State Representative Mike D'Agostino (D-Hamden) concerning the tree pruning and removal work performed by utility companies in town and by the state Department of Transportation on state highways has been approved by the legislature’s Environment Committee and goes next to the House for debate and a vote.

The proposal, Bill No. 5150, was raised by the legislature's Environment Committee for a public hearing earlier this year where the measure received bipartisan support.

Rep. D’Agostino’s legislation now contains two important provisions:

First, it requires the State Department of Transportation to develop and share its plan for any future work on major state roads such as the Merritt Parkway and I-91. Instead of proceeding, if at all, without oversight, the DOT must detail the proposed areas scheduled for tree removal, the timetable for the work, the amount of funds the Department of Transportation has allocated for such work, and the distance the Department of Transportation intends to clear in proposed areas. The proposed work plan also needs to be reviewed and signed by a licensed arborist.

Second, the proposed law requires utility companies that plan tree management in any town to provide – at the start of each year -- a plan showing the roads and areas where the work is planned and the proposed schedule. The plan must be provided to the town tree warden or chief elected official. Each town must make the plan publicly and keep such plan publicly available for the remainder of the calendar year.