Mayor Linda Gorton, Urban City Council file complaint against KU

KU tree protest.jpg
Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 17:29:15-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Mayor Linda Gorton issued a statement this afternoon, saying the Urban City Council has approved a formal complaint with the state's Public Service Commission against KU.

The filing will ask a judge to file an injunction to stop the cutting.

The City says the paperwork will be officially filed soon.

Original Story

A last-ditch effort to stop Kentucky Utilities from chopping down trees in the Lansdowne neighborhood has ended in an arrest Monday morning.

Protesters started at 9 a.m. as the first tree came down.

Police arrested one woman who refused to move out from under a tree. Once she was arrested, crews began to chop down one of the trees as neighbors watched from the sidewalk.

One woman told LEX 18 that she doesn't understand why a small tree like this one poses a threat to the power line above it.

Other protesters told LEX 18 that they want more compromise and for more communication with the utility company.

A KU spokesperson said that the company understands why neighbors are upset, but removing these trees is critical to protect the safety and reliability of their system.

“I am very disappointed by the actions KU has taken today in cutting down trees that in no way threaten transmission lines. This does not reflect the compromise I requested that trees be trimmed rather than cut down, or the 30-day moratorium I requested," said Mayor Linda Gorton in a statement Monday afternoon.

"It also directly contradicts the resolution Council passed on Nov. 18. Trees are important to our city. Lexington has been a Tree City USA for 33 years. Trees help control stormwater, improve air quality, provide shade and enhance our neighborhoods. I have been working with KU for months to try to find a better way to preserve our tree canopy, while protecting our electrical infrastructure. KU’s response today is to continue cutting down trees. While the city does not have the authority to stop KU, it’s unfortunate that KU is not listening to the citizens it serves. The City is forced to consider other options, including filing a formal complaint with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, which oversees utilities.”

Stay with LEX 18 for the latest updates.