Ozarks Electric Changes Policy On Cleaning Up Ribbon Used To Mark Easements

GREENLAND (KFSM) -- Ozarks Electric Cooperative is changing how it cleans up after cutting back trees for easements.

Greenland resident Dustin Reed called the company after he noticed neon pink plastic ribbons appeared to have been left up along Highway 265 following work done by a contractor for the electric company.

"It's just an eyesore," Reed said. "I drive around and there's no current work. You can tell it's long gone and you see all the plastic ribbons on barbed wire fences or on posts."

Reed said initial attempts to contact Ozark Electric to find out if the plastic ribbon would be removed were unsuccessful. He said he eventually was contacted by the company and was told they did not have a policy was in place to clean up the plastic ribbons.

Penny Storms, media and public relations manager for Ozarks Electric, said the ribbons help workers out on the job.

"It is common practice to mark poles, trees, branches, guy-wires, T-post, and fencing and that sort of thing, to mark where right of way needs to be cut," Storm said.

After a contractor finishes up, the ribbon has to stay up until a safety inspector reviews the work. Storms said the ribbon will deteriorate with time.

"When it rots away we have plastic," said Reed, who worried about the litter.  "If the company is concerned about the environment, doing solar and wind and carbon and all of that kind of stuff that, they ought to at least pick up all of the plastic tape they leave."

Ozarks Electric removed the plastic ribbon along the job site on Highway 265 Monday afternoon (Nov. 28), which Reed applauded and hoped the practice would continue around Washington County.

Storms said the company will begin to include ribbon removal as part of the overall job.

"Going forward, we will make sure that the tape is removed after the inspection is done, so that all the safety requirements are meant and that sort of thing," she said.

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