Frequently asked questions
PG&E claims trees are dangerous to underground pipelines. Is that true?
Trees are not a major threat category that PG&E factors in their risk analysis. PG&E confirms that tree roots have never experienced a transmission pipeline accident anywhere in their system at any time. PG&E's studies do not determine that tree roots cause corrosion or cracking on their pipelines. PG&E's major causes of accidents are: third-party dig-ins, manufacturing defects, and incorrect operation. For safety-related information can be found here: Safety Risk of Trees.
Do trees inhibit first responder access to pipelines in an emergency, as PG&E claims?
Is the removal of these 272 trees an urgent safety concern?
PG&E said one of my private trees is designated for removal. Do I need to sign their agreement?
As a resident with a tree on private property, you have NO REQUIREMENT to sign an agreement with PG&E to remove your tree. This is the law (Clarification PI-ZZ-49), and PG&E cannot require any private tree removal unless it's an emergency. You may find it helpful to look at the original easement language that should have been disclosed when you purchased your property. Most easement agreements do not give PG&E permission to cut trees, and therefore, PG&E has no legal right to do so.
What are the other options to cutting down our trees?
For trees on public and private property, the best solution is to leave the trees in question, or move the aging pipeline further into the Lafayette Trail or outside the neighborhoods altogether. PG&E is resistant to install a new pipeline replacement in our community using the latest technology due to the cost of the project -- it's cheaper to monitor the aging pipeline in place, but it's definitely not safer.
Other options PG&E could employ instead include installment of automated or remote shut-off valves and implementation of the gold-standard internal "smart pig" inspections, both methods proven to be beneficial to pipeline integrity in HCAs (High Consquence Areas).
Shouldn't we trust PG&E, since they say they've achieved "gas safety excellence" in the past six years?
Following PG&E’s 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, the company pledged multiple improvements that would transform PG&E into the safest gas company in the United States. We explored what progress PG&E has made in fulfilling this promise, and compared their gas safety performance rank today relative to their industry peers. See more information in our analysis paper: PG&E Gas Pipeline Safety Performance