Vannice Attends MOU Vegetation Management Meetings in D.C.Community
CN Utility Consulting (CNUC) Vice President of Operations Derek Vannice was invited to participate as a part of a Utility Arborist Association (UAA) delegation to meet, along with EEI and other staff from UAA, with federal land agencies and House Natural Resource Committee staff members in Washington D.C. May 12-15. Participants included arborists from PacifiCorp, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Arizona Public Service Company, Duke Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and ECI.
Vannice represented CNUC as well as the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) in his current role as board chair. Since the early 2000s, CNUC has played an active role in important issues involving the vegetation management industry. The company has met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and staff members of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The purpose of the meeting in D.C. was to provide information and support for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between vegetation management industry organizations and federal agencies. This MOU addresses vegetation management for electric transmission and distribution line rights-of-way (ROWs) on federal land. Vannice was also able to educate the federal agencies on the importance of the ROW Steward Accreditation as it relates to best management practices on transmission ROWs when going through federal land.
Separate discussions during his trip also took place in support of the new draft legislation, “Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act.”
Here are some key meeting takeaways Vannice noted:
• People in the UVM industry are passionate. I saw a lot of enthusiasm from utility arborists in the room who spoke about the importance of IVM best management practices on utility rights-of-way. You could feel the sense of frustration in the room due to the delay in getting federal agencies to sign off on the MOU.
• Utilities and contractors are on the right track. After listening to colleagues talk about the results of IVM best management practices, it’s evident that everyone in the industry is improving the habitat for pollinators and wildlife while also improving the reliability of our electric grid.
• Patience and persistence is key. Visits similar to this one have taken place for more than 10 years now. The progress that has been made should not stop. Our message about the industry is important for the future.