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Snapping Shoals recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation
(Left to Right) Keith Garner (SSEMC Director of Right-of-Way and Contractor Services), Beryl Budd (Senior Community Forrester with Georgia Forestry Commission, Sustainable Community Forestry Program), Jimmy Smith (SSEMC Right-of-Way Foreman and Certified Arborist) and Mike Sapp (Georgia Forestry Commission chief ranger, Newton and Rockdale counties) - photo by Submitted Photo

Snapping Shoals EMC was recently recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation with the Tree Line USA distinction for its leadership in caring for trees while meeting service objectives - the first EMC in the state to receive this honor.

The Tree Line USA program acknowledges public and private utilities that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America's urban forests. The goal of the program is to promote the dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas.

"We had already been participating in several community tree projects at area schools and senior centers when the Tree Line USA certification opportunity was presented to us," said Victor Hurst, Vice President of Line Services at SSEMC. "We felt that the ideals of Tree Line USA marry well with SSEMC's philosophy of providing value to our members. Trees are a big part of energy conservation, which in turn helps our members save."

In order to receive Tree Line USA recognition, Snapping Shoals EMC had to meet several requirements, such as following industry standards for pruning, planting, removals, and trenching and tunneling near trees, as well as ensuring that employees and contract workers are trained in best practices. In addition to participating in community Arbor Day celebrations, SSEMC also sponsored and participated in several tree planting and public education programs designed to expand canopy and educate customers about the proper tree planting, placement, and pruning.

"The community sees us trimming and removing trees, which has to be done to maintain our lines, but we want people to know that we are eco-conscious," Hurst said. "Power companies and our natural resources can coexist."

Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation is a consumer-owned electric cooperative providing electric service to approximately 94,000 homes and businesses in an eight-county area. Most of the utility's service area is in Newton, Rockdale and Henry counties. Portions of DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties are also included.