Rancho Murieta Airport – Safety Cutting of Trees Must Proceed

County facing deadline to cut trees near airport
By Ed Fletcher
The Sacramento (CA) Bee

The county has until March 15 to have the trees out, said Jill Ritzman, deputy director of the county parks system, which owns the land on which the trees are growing. “We are not against trees,” said Art Negrette, an attorney representing the small single-runway airport just west of the gated Rancho Murieta community, 25 miles east of Sacramento along Highway 16. “We want a safe airport.” The airport won a court order demanding the trees to be cut to comply with federal, state and local safety rules.

The county earmarked nearly $620,000 for the project, citing a number of factors jacking up the costs.

Valley elderberry bushes, host to the threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle, are scattered among the trees. Cutting the trees without disturbing the beetle habitat will cost extra. Habitat restoration also would be required, which alone would cost $420,000, the county estimated.

Sacramento County Executive Terry Schutten said he hopes a compromise can be reached that would allow some of the trees to be spared.

Editor’s Note: The California Pilots Association has a different understanding of this issue. That is, the county tried to circumvent their financial responsibility on this issue, using environmental excuses to cloud the issue. That is how the judge who ruled on this issue felt too, since he ruled in favor of the airport.

We wonder, exactly WHEN did trees become more important then the safety of the people using this important transportation infrastructure asset? Trees can be replanted. You cannot replace people.

Editor’s Note: The trees have finally been cut, thanks to pressure from many different organizations.

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