Social justice is often raised in relation to trees, for good reason. Utility cutting has created a safety hazard in every street tree on the north side of St. Paul’s Street, a lower/middle income area. The big wounds created by utility cuts are far outside what Duke Energy is allowed by the NC Utilities Commission, the National Electric Reliability Corporation, and ANSI A300 Tree Care Standards.
St. Paul’s Street is one block long. Half of its residents are renters. This case study shows the effect of the excessive cutting of street trees on the middle/lower economic stratum. It is harder on these citizens than it is on folks with larger yards and more money to spend on restorative pruning and other treatments that would lessen the risk from Moderate to Low.
After one whole tree failed, and a large, imbalanced limb broke off, the residents of St. Paul’s sent a petition to Duke Energy and the City, and met with representatives. Since that time, more substandard utility cutting has substantially increased the risk posed to these people and their homes.