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PSE&G = Pure Spin Energy Group

Date : Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:12:15 -0500

For Immediate Release
February 25, 2009 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director

(609) 558-9100

Chester, NJ - The New Jersey Sierra Club has called on the Highlands Council to reject PSE&G's request to drastically expand the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line. The proposal, which would triple the line's current size and capacity, is inconsistent with the Highland Act.

A transmission line expansion would have major environmental impacts, not only to the Highland's scenery, but to the region's water quality, open space and forests. "In more than 52 instances, the Highlands Council staff has shown that this proposal is not only inconsistent with the Highlands Act, but will cause environmental damage to the Highlands region," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

"PSE&G - Pure Spin Energy Group - says that the expansion will have a minimal impact and meets the goals of the Highlands Act," Tittel said. "That's a blatant lie. The proposal will have major impacts and it doesn't meet goals of the Highlands Act because of the irreversible damage it would do to the environment. The 200-foot-plus power line towers will be dug between 40 to 60 feet down into the ground, having a negative impact on ground water and overall water quality." Specifically, PSE&G's proposal is to add a 500-kilovolt line to the existing 230-kilovolt line on its portion of the Susquehanna-Roseland corridor. A Pennsylvania utility, PP&L, is seeking a similar expansion in that state, sending electricity from the Delaware Water Gap, across three New Jersey counties to Roseland in Essex County, New Jersey. From there, electricity would be converted to several 230 kilovolt lines and delivered to New York and other parts of New Jersey. "The motivation behind this power line is so PSE&G can import cheap, dirty power from Pennsylvania so they can take clean power from New Jersey and sell it at a higher rate to residents of New York," Tittel said.

"In order to complete the project, hundreds of acres of trees will be cut down to widen the right of way," Tittel said. "Miles and miles of access roads will be created to bring in equipment. While the wire from the lines alone is a threat to birds, the access roads will disturb habitats for threatened and endangered species, impact wetlands, and invite the possibility of ATVs." The proposed line expansion is expected to have the potential to move at least 3,000 MW of energy from coal states into or through New Jersey. That's enough electricity to power 800,000 or more homes. Growth in the state's electric demand does not warrant such a large increase in transmission capacity. Even conservative projections from the grid operator, PJM, show peak demand in PSE&G's entire service area will rise by only 2000 MW by 2020. In addition to the various impacts on the local topography, the expansion will also undermine New Jersey's efforts to establish and utilize more sustainable energy sources.

"This proposal will allow for more dirty energy from Pennsylvania to come into New Jersey," Tittel said, adding that as a result more mercury will be put into the atmosphere. The mercury will get into our streams and reservoirs, into our fisheries and into us." Because many trees will be cut to make way for the lines and the access roads, there will be less vegetation to offset the pollution.

Expanding the power line will invite secondary development that would further destruct the region, such as the Riverbank Sparta Energy Center, the Rockaway biomass incinerator plant, or a substation the size of a Walmart in Jefferson.

"Based on all the existing evidence, we believe that the Highlands Council should determine that this proposal is not only inconsistent with the Highlands Act, but also a threat to the Highlands themselves," Tittel said. "The Council has to recommend against any exemption that the proposal to expand the lines undermines the protection of the Highlands."

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609.656.7612

(f) 609.656.7618

<http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org

Received on 2009-02-25 08:12:15

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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