|from Northeast Utilities website|
The blue-winged warbler is one of the bird species that thrives in shrublands. Thus it has become a symbol of the environmental good accomplished by NU's approach to vegetation management. The blue-winged warbler is a charming bird, pretty to look at and fun to hear. (Its recent success has also caused the decline of the golden-winged warbler, but that's another story...) NU uses it on its website (above) and it makes an appearance on a long piece of video propaganda explaining the ROW construction process. (Direct link here).
Another creature inhabiting shrubland? The brontosaurus.
|from John Brown & Sons website|
It is not built for subtlety or discretion, but for swift and thorough desolation. It doesn't care whether there are birds nesting in the branches it takes down (even if those birds are blue-winged warblers, which tend to nest in the tall trees at the edges of clearings). It doesn't care whether the tree it's just demolished was beloved by children, perfect for climbing. It has a job and its job is the only thing. And so we have NSTAR, pursuing a single -minded policy relentlessly with no regard for the contexts of time (THE NESTING SEASON!) or location.
The shrubland argument works when there is a forest on either side of the ROW, but you don't create real shrublands in the suburbs, particularly when you are removing the edge trees birds need for nesting. When NSTAR/NU clear-cuts vegetation underneath and to the sides of transmission lines in the suburbs, it is really just making a path for a giant boom repair truck (shall we call it an "apatosaurus"?) Thus it is ultimately about the utility company's operational effectiveness, not any genuine environmental good. I wish they would leave the birds out of it.