Editorial:Down a tree

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LIPA and Village of Mineola DPW Superintendent Thomas Rini began the process last week of removing eight majestic Sycamore trees that line Roslyn Road in Mineola.

One man, Richard Brummel of East Hills, stood up to oppose them. Last Monday he carried a sign that read, “Save these 8 solid trees.”

On Tuesday, as he watched while LIPA crews removed tree limbs near the power lines, he told our reporter, “I simply wanted them to stop their work because people oppose them. These are healthy trees.”

Although LIPA said it was only removing branches in the way of the power lines, Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said removal of the trees had been planned for months. The removal of the trees was originally planned, he said, after two trees came down on Roslyn Road near Jefferson Avenue – one of which struck a house – during a “microburst” storm last August.

“LIPA identified them as a problem,” Strauss said. “Now this guy’s preventing them from removing the trees.”

The village officials seemed to muddy the waters by offering two reasons for removing the trees.

Are officials afraid that the trees might damage power lines or that in a storm the trees might land on a house?

Either is possible. 

A question also exists about the health of the trees.

The trees withstood the winds of Superstorm Sandy, but a LIPA arborist told the village that the trees were not healthy and should be removed.

Brummel said an arborist with whom he consulted told him the trees were healthy.

Who to believe? 

Sadly, in an era when freak storms seem to have become the norm and power is lost for weeks at a time we believe local villages such as Mineola must come down on the side of caution.

Strauss said the village plans to plant trees in place of the Sycamores scheduled to be removed. Your grandchildren will be sending their grandchildren off to college before Strauss’s saplings approach half the size of the trees he is cutting down.

The real loser in this will be the residents of this tree-lined street. They will lose quality of life and they will lose value in their homes. 

But that is the price we now all face for a warming planet that produces powerful storms and an inept power company that is unable to adequately deal with the damage in their aftermath.

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