The California Department of Transportation has launched an aggressive campaign to crack down on people who illegally cut or remove trees and shrubs along state highways.
Caltrans District 3 filed four lawsuits in June against individuals and businesses that in 2011 cut trees and/or bushes within the State’s right-of-way without the necessary permits.
In some cases, the apparent motive for the tree trimming or bush cutting was for increased visibility of a business near the state highway. Under the law, Caltrans can recover in court a $10,000 penalty for each tree and $1,000 for every shrub damaged on state property. The state can also receive other costs and expenses such as legal fees. In addition, the law allows for damage awards to be doubled or tripled.