NEVADA CITY (CBS13) – Protesting power lines in Nevada City, tree-sitters were upset with Pacific Gas and Electric’s decision to cut down trees.
PG&E said the trees are too close to power lines and could contribute to potential wildfires.
“There are several demands we’re making,” said Brandon Jonutz, of Nevada City. “PG&E needs to take this tree off of the list of hazardous trees.”
As of Friday night, Jonutz, also known as Tarzan, sits 40 feet off the ground and cut off from resources with supplies running low.
“I’m good for 10-20 days. I have a whole bag of produce. I have a beet. I have an apple. I have broccoli. There goes my green onions,” he said.
Jonutz is single-handedly going up against the biggest utility company in the state of California. PG&E has marked nearly 300 trees in Nevada City for removal.
“We must continue this work in Nevada City in order to ensure safety and avoid the possible ignition of wildfires,” said PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo.
Despite the potential for wildfires, protesters are demanding the work stop.
“This tree is real. It matters. My children played here,” said Jennifer Long, a Nevada City resident. “Out of 273 trees we wanted to save 16 and they absolutely refused to make any kind of compromise.”
Long said protesters like Jonutz are forced to fight back.
“If I can drink the rainwater I’ll be here all winter,” Jonutz said.
Three other protesters who were also risking it all to save the trees ended up in handcuffs Friday morning.
“They immediately grabbed me and said I was trespassing on private property,” said Julia Bernardini, another Nevada City resident.
Long was also arrested by Nevada City police Friday morning.
“We’re not going to go away. We’re going to keep fighting as long as we can here,” she said.
But after devastating wildfires, PG&E said they’ve got no choice – trees near power lines have got to go.
“They posed a risk to our system and at this point, we must choose the no-risk option and cut down those trees,” Merlo said.
PG&E said they’ve got about 50 trees left to remove and are just waiting on the OK from the city.