Yesterday, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) chaired a House Natural Resources oversight hearing to highlight the need to proactively and consistently manage hazardous conditions around transmission lines on public lands in order to better prevent catastrophic wildfire and blackouts, and keep utility costs low for ratepayers. During the hearing, Tipton questioned the witnesses on inconsistencies within the federal policy for managing hazardous trees and other vegetation near utility rights of way. Rural electric cooperatives and other investor-owned utilities must cross public lands with transmission lines in some cases in order to deliver power to their customers in rural areas. Most of these utilities are able to manage hazardous conditions or overgrown vegetation around their lines, but on public lands, are required to work with federal land management agencies to manage these risks. Tipton says current federal policies for managing the vegetation on these electrical rights of way is disjointed and inconsistent due to the amount of authority given to local federal land managers who make unilateral decisions on whether to allow even routine maintenance around the transmission lines. You can see video of the hearing below.