To Sue or Not to Sue?

To Sue or Not to Sue?
September 11, 2007

James L. Johnston

Jim Johnston is The Heartland Institute's senior fellow for energy and regulatory policy and a... (read full bio)

Two North Shore residents are suing ComEd because the August 23 storm caused multiday power outages. ComEd is taking a bum rap. Trees also fell on houses, automobiles, lawns and shrubbery. Is ComEd to blame for those too?

My nomination for the responsible party is the tree ordinances in effect for several years in Glenview, Winnetka and Wilmette. While surely not intended, an important consequence of restricting the removal and trimming of large old trees is to delay actions by homeowners to minimize potential damage. From my casual inspection, some of the electrical lines were pulled down by large trees that were not all that close to the lines and on private property.

The trustees in these villages ought to return the responsibility for maintaining the large trees to the owners. Technical advice from the villages is always helpful, but coercion is not.

Jim Johnston (johnston@heartland.org) is an economist retired from Amoco and a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute.

James L. Johnston

Jim Johnston is The Heartland Institute's senior fellow for energy and regulatory policy and a... (read full bio)