Duxbury: Town may end up in legal battle with NSTAR over tree removal

The utility company NSTAR wants to cut down trees in Duxbury that could potentially fall on transmission lines in order to avoid days long power outages, like the town experienced this past winter, but residents and Selectmen are strongly opposed to the company’s plan.

According to Selectman Shawn Dahlen, the transmission lines are installed on several right-of-ways which are about 200-feet in length and abut residential property throughout town.

NSTAR wants to clear everything that’s 10-feet on either side of the transmissions but Dahlen says they also have an aggressive plan to cut anything within the right-of-way that could eventually grow higher than 15-feet.

“For an example, if there’s no species of trees or shrubs in a certain area that will eventually grow more than 15-feet than, theoretically, they won’t touch that but if in the middle of an area where you got a lot of trees and shrubs that are smaller in size that create a nice little natural buffer, if there’s three or four big pine trees they’re going to go in there and cut those out which essentially annihilates everything else at the same time,” said Dahlen

But NSTAR spokesman Mike Durand says trees are the #1 cause of power outages and a single down tree can affect tens of thousands of Duxbury residents.

“In the past we have left a buffer more so than we can leave now. It’s in our easement, it’s an easement that we own and maintain, it’s not on our land but the easement allows us to maintain that part of the land for reliable electric service,” said Durand

Duxbury Selectmen recently took a vote to authorize town counsel to look into possible negotiation with NSTAR that would minimize impact to abutters. However, if NSTAR fails to cooperate, legal action will be pursued.

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.