Life Without Possibility Of Parole Not Enough For This Accused Tree Poisoner And His Supervisors

Poisoning trees to make billboards easier to see

Robert J. Barnhart a crew chief for Lamar Advertising Company a billboard company, and a soldier in a war on trees. Trees are the enemy if they spoiled the view of a billboard. On days of an attack, Barnhart, 27, would arrive by dawn at Lamar Advertising Company in Tallahassee, Fla. After removing the magnetic Lamar logo from a company truck, he would set forth with a machete, a hospital mask and a container of what he described as a “pretty gnarly” herbicide.

It was all about being fast: Hack into the roots or base of the tree, douse the wound with herbicide, and get out of there. The Lamar executive who gave the orders, said Barnhart, called it “a hit and run.”

Lamar Advertising Company was sued by the state of Connecticut after the company and a tree service trespassed on state land and removed 83 trees along Interstate 84, including oak, spruce, maple and birch trees up to 37 inches in diameter. They “swept a swath of destruction,” said then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, “obliterating a vital environmental buffer protecting homeowners from noxious noise and views.”

The problem was that Lamar had a permit to trim — not cut down — trees. It also felled trees outside the permitted area.

In 2009, Lamar Advertising Company was forced to pay about $182,000 to an irate Ohio couple for illegally felling 34 trees on their property to improve views of a sign.

Another tree-killing binge in the Florida panhandle has also drawn attention. In that episode, billboard operator Bill Salter Outdoor Advertising cleared more than 2,000 trees from public rights of way to enhance views of its signs.

Florida transportation officials acted “in flagrant violation of the law” in issuing permits for the cutting, a grand jury found in January, because, among other things, they did not require Salter to compensate the state for the loss of the trees, valued at $1 million to $4 million dollars. The permits were issued to Salter after a state legislator, {another corrupt politician} Greg Evers, intervened by making calls to the state Department of Transportation.

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One response to “Life Without Possibility Of Parole Not Enough For This Accused Tree Poisoner And His Supervisors

  1. Lady Bird johnson is rolling over in her grave.

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