March 17, 2023 4:00 PM to 5:15 PMUptown Campus
This panel discusses vegetation and its application to climate-focused city planning and other sustainability concerns. Lawrence Kahn will give a presentation discussing some of the legal and social justice implications of Utility Vegetation Management (UVM), an emerging area of legal practice that concerns the interaction between the natural world and the delivery of energy. UVM is a service that everyone pays for but not everyone receives a benefit from, and as the litigation over the 2018 Camp Fire caused by PG&E’s poor line maintenance practices (ex: People v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company) has shown, UVM has enormous implications for corporate liability, but it also necessarily involves thorny questions of contract, property, and bankruptcy law. The panel will also address the social justice issues implicated in the ways that utility vegetation management regulations and programs are composed. It will discuss “tree equity,” or the ways that low-income neighborhoods with minimal tree cover subsidize the tree maintenance of high-income neighborhoods with abundant tree cover.