Lexington woman continues to protest KU tree removal after arrest

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Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 17:19:11-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Another day, another attempt to stop crews from cutting down trees along Lexington’s Lansdowne Drive. And on Wednesday, protesters were even more fired up.

“This is a disgrace,” said Diane Atchison, who has organized multiple protests. “This is totally disrespecting our city, and the customers, and the mayor.”

One protester returned after a trip to jail Monday. Lexington police officers arrested Laura Zimmerman when she refused to move away from of the trees.

She told LEX 18, she plans to plead guilty to 3rd degree criminal trespassing.

“I have the option of not guilty, but I am guilty,” Zimmerman said. “I did this as a form of civil disobedience. I knew we would get more attention.”

The retired schoolteacher doesn’t plan on getting arrested again, but she said she wanted to raise awareness about KU’s plan.

“I felt really strongly about this,” she said. “My mom was a little worried about me, but then said she was proud of me.”

Kentucky Utilities maintains the tree clearing is a critical measure to protect their transmission lines, but the group of protesters isn’t buying it.

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Atchison said she might even take her fight to outside the company’s downtown office.

“This deserves a lot of attention, and protesting, and fighting against this unnecessary clear cutting of healthy trees that pose no risk to reliable electric,” she said.

Mayor Linda Gorton told protesters KU had agreed to restrict their cutting on Wednesday to large, threatening trees, while leaving tiny trees alone.