In consultation with the MDNR, Consumers Energy will remove brush in our construction right of way near the Pinckney and Waterloo state recreation areas to prepare for the Mid-Michigan Pipeline Replacement Project starting this spring. We have to remove trees to get to the brush properly, which is a DNR requirement, to ensure our crews can perform their work safely and to protect bats and prevent the spread of Oak wilt disease. We’ll mitigate the environmental impact by working with the MDNR team to carefully select the trees that must be removed and to determine how, where and when to plant the appropriate replacements. We plan to begin removing trees this winter to remove habitat that may attract endangered species of bats and to prevent the spread of oak wilt, an aggressive fungus that impairs the flow of water to the tree’s canopy and leaves. This disease kills thousands of oak trees each year in forests and communities throughout Michigan. Infected trees need to be disposed of in a manner that prevents further infections.