East Bay Solar Project Halted After Trees Clear-Cut For Panels

RICHMOND (KCBS) – A solar power project that involved clear-cutting groves of eucalyptus and oak trees to install solar panels has been halted near Richmond after county supervisors said they were caught off guard on the tree removal.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors said it never signed off on a plan to remove the trees at Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline Park to install solar panels for the county. By some estimates, nearly 100 eucalyptus trees and one dozen oak trees were chopped down.

”To say that we’re flabbergasted is to say something kind of mild,” said Beverly Lane, president of the East Bay Regional Park District Board.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

She maintained the district had nothing to do with extensive tree removal. Instead, the county signed a contract with Main Street Power to have solar panels installed on top of county buildings including the West County Detention Facility near the park.

”Had we known that these solar panels were going to be on the ground, near the entrance to a regional park, we would have definitely said no,” said County Supervisor John Gioia.

He said the work has been halted at Pt. Pinole Regional Park.

Jonathon Postal, a spokesman for Colorado-based solar company, said that company officials plan to meet with county officials this week to discuss the project.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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