Raleigh man wins fight against Duke Energy over tree removal

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Duke Energy lost the first round of a legal fight over a tree in Wake County on Thursday.

A judge refused to grant the energy company an injunction that would have allowed Duke on a Raleigh man's property to cut down a willow tree Duke claimed is dangerously close to its transmission lines.

The ruling was an initial victory for the homeowner, who has said he's standing up for everyone who's ever had Duke Energy chop down their tree claiming it was in the way of power lines.

"I'm glad more than anything that, in my opinion, what was right prevailed," homeowner John Kane Jr. said. "Duke's policies of coming through and clear cutting are not right for the community, they're not right for their customers and I'm very pleased that Judge Collins heard all the evidence and took the course he did."

Kane said he wants the company to trim the tree back, but Duke wants to cut it down, so it filed a lawsuit against him.

Part of the suit was a request for a preliminary ruling to allow the company onto the property to cut the tree down because it has a legal easement under the power lines.

However, the fight is far from over.

Kane says he plans to pay an arborist to trim the willow tree, but knows that this case could set a precedent that could cost Duke Energy millions to repeatedly trim trees rather than cut them down.

That's likely why the company now says it will continue to pursue its lawsuit in the hopes of eventually getting a ruling in its favor.

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