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Omaha landlord tries to stop cutting down trees in easement

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — The OPPD told 6 News two weeks ago that clearing the easement will make it easier to replace the power line and towers, as well as provide for future maintenance.

“Having a free corridor makes it much safer for operations, makes it safe for our crews when we get out, and if something happens, there is less chance of a tree hitting a power line,” said Jake Farrell of OPPD.

While many trees have already been cut down and removed from backyards, John Bucklin says his home will lose its curb appeal.

“Mine is different because it’s in the front, but it’s 20 trees, most of the habitat is lost, a lot of mature trees are lost,” Bucklin said.

Ironically, he says that the district assessor just raised the value of his property by $200,000, but asks how this can exist if there are no trees in the yard.

“[It’s] a lot worse than anyone else in the area,” Bucklin said.

With so much at stake, Bucklin is demanding more bets from the OPPD to better define the boundaries of the easement. He also plans to meet with a lawyer about the feasibility and availability of an injunction.

“I’m trying to at least slow them down so we can talk about it,” Bucklin said.

Also in the OPPD easement is a tree fort that Bucklin built for his three boys.

“I’m a civil engineer, so I wish I had it right,” Bucklin said.

Created, according to him, as a single unit with a tree.

“When the tree sways in the wind, the fort sways.”

He is also trying to influence the decision of the OPPD.

This fort doesn’t grow, but the tree it’s wrapped around is considered a hazard to high voltage power lines, so it’s likely to be cut fairly low, leaving the treehouse without much wood.

Like many of his neighbors, John Bucklin understands that the OPPD can clear 50 feet of easement on either side of the line.

“Diagonally, it couldn’t have hit me better if it wasn’t for the trees,” Bucklin said.

He says looking into possible lawsuits will bolster his demand for more evidence as to why so many trees need to be cut down.

OPPD project leaders met with Bucklins today and say they have a better understanding of Bucklins’ requests and concerns. OPPD promises to listen and work with all affected clients and says it will never remove trees unless there are other viable options.

Full OPPD statement provided by 6 News:

“We are grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Bucklins this morning and work with them in person. We better understand their questions and concerns and look forward to continuing to work together on this project.

We understand the important aesthetic, ecological and emotional value of trees. We would never remove trees if there were no other viable options. Unfortunately, as part of this transmission upgrade project, we must remove trees within the transmission easement for the safety of our customers and employees, and for the reliability of the electrical system. We will continue to listen and work with all affected customers.”

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