These ten stately palmetto trees, the South Carolina state tree, were felled by Dominion Energy’s tree-slaughtering contractor, Gunnison–which styles itself as a “Professional Tree Care” company–on the morning of May 4, 2021, along the right of way in front of Bill Sammons’ house on Elliott Street. Sammons, a Beaufort native of 81 years, pictured below, negotiated for weeks with Dominion, the local electricity provider headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, to no avail to save these trees. Shifting of one power pole a distance of 10 feet would have been sufficient to preserve trees which had provided shade and beauty here for 70 years.
According to one of the workers on the Gunnison crew, the company will be engaged in destroying live oak and palmetto trees for Dominion Energy all around Beaufort for a number of more months, maybe as long as until September. Sammons, who flew more than 500 missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, says Dominion doesn’t know what it’s up against in defying the people of Beaufort.
Here are emails that The Beaufort Tribune has received from Bill Sammons:
April 19. 2021: Dominion Energy is going all over the Low Country cutting down palmetto trees (our state tree ) and telling folks that they must cut them down because the trees only live to be 80-100 years old and the ones they are killing are old and they are about to die anyhow and so it is OK. They lie! Google it, palmetto trees live to be 200-300 years old. Dominion and the political gang are lying to us as they strip all the ambience out of Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea! Call your state senator and state representative and tell them to STOP DOMINION.
May 3, 2021: M palmettos will be gone, but I think that we need to put the spotlight on Dominion Energy and those politicians in Columbia that allowed them to rape our wonderful little town. These guys are paid to cut the trees by the politicians in Columbia so it’s their fault, not the guys that actually cut the trees.
Click here for a video of the tree cutting.