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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #PI-00-0102 ([Mayor of the Township of Piscataway] [The Honorable Helen Merolla])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Mayor of the Township of Piscataway

Individual Name: The Honorable Helen Merolla

Location State: NJ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:


The Honorable Helen Merolla
Mayor of the Township of Piscataway
Municipal Complex
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Dear Mayor Merolla:

Thank you for your letter to Secretary Slater concerning Duke Energy's plan to remove all street trees on its pipeline easement on Fountain Avenue. Your letter has been referred to the Research and Special Programs Administration's Office of Pipeline Safety for response.

Duke Energy may want to remove the trees to minimize the possibility that tree roots will damage the pipeline or pipeline coating. It may also want to remove the trees to facilitate routine patrolling of the easement.

Pipelines operated by Duke Energy are subject to the safety regulations of Title 49 CFR Parts 190-199 (enclosed). These regulations require operators to patrol their pipeline easements for signs of leaks and construction activity. However, the regulations do not require operators to keep their easements free of trees to make patrolling easier or to minimize the possibility of damage by tree roots, nor do the regulations give pipeline operators a right to remove trees on their pipeline easements. The authority of an operator to remove trees is subject to private agreements with landowners and to any local land use controls. Although, aerial surveillance is usually the most practical method of patrolling, in areas where an easement is concealed by trees or large bushes, a pipeline operator may observe conditions on the easement by walking or driving along the easement.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact me or Buck Furrow of my staff at (202) 366-4595.


Stacey L. Gerard
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
192.705 Transmission lines: Patrolling