The state General Services Department is demolishing trees to protect pavement at the South Capitol complex.

According to an employee advisory sent by GSD spokesman Tim Korte, on Aug. 19, the department's Facilities Management Division will "kick off a three-month effort to repave and reconfigure the Montoya Building Parking lot," which borders Cordova Road and the railroad tracks.

Crews, the email to state employees reads, "will remove existing Cottonwoods and other trees." The trees will be replaced with Austrian pines and Autumn Blaze pear trees, whose root systems "will not heave and damage the paving."  

Not everybody is happy.

John Crain, a New Mexico Environment Department employee, sent Korte a scathing email about what Crain called the "ill-conceived decision" to destroy "such large, beautiful and well-established trees in these days of global climate changeā€¦"

"Spending untold thousands of taxpayers' dollars to do so should be considered criminal," Crain wrote, "especially when a fraction of the money could pay for the services of an expert arborist to virtually eliminate the likelihood of property damage from falling limbs."

Korte's email said the action is being taken to "promote a safe workplace environment and to mitigate risk management exposure."

Korte adds: "The parking lot overhaul is needed because falling limbs from trees have caused property damage to vehicles and roots from the trees have damaged the asphalt surface of the parking area."