My question involves an easement in the state of: New York.
A NYSEG electrical transmission line runs through my land. Over the past 14 years, independent contractors hired by NYSEG have come to maintain this utility easement 2 or 3 times and cut down young trees (mostly pines) within the easement's boundary. The rest of the lower-growing vegetation (wild low and high blueberry bushes, low-growing apple trees, bayberry bushes) was left alone. I harvested the blueberries, apples and bayberries each year.
Today, without any warning, a contractor razed, hacked, chipped and mowed to oblivion every plant, bush, and tree. I had firewood stacked near an apple tree I had just pruned, that also disappeared in the sweeping cleanup. The site is disfigured and rendered sterile. My access road to the woods was damaged in the process by the heavy machinery.
Does right of maintenance of an easement under an electrical power line imply that every living plant has to be eradicated in the process? How does a bush prevent the utility company from accessing and repairing its lines?
I was told by the contractor that the guidelines had changed because of the recent merger of NYSEG with a Rochester-based Utility Company. Do I have any recourse concerning the fact that I was not made aware of this change in the maintenance guidelines?
Can a utility company change its easements' maintenance guidelines as they see fit with no hindrance or oversight?
Do landowners have absolutely no say on what happens to their land under utility easement, no right to use it for low-growing crops, but only the privilege and obligation to pay taxes on it?