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Power Line Will Destroy Our Parks

Date : Thu, 26 Jan 2012 11:56:21 -0500

/For Immediate Release/
January 24, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, 609-558-9100

*Power Line Will Destroy Our Parks *

** The National Park Service (NPS) has issued its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the polluting Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.This project will bring in more dirty coal-fired energy into New Jersey through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and the Appalachian Trail.The NPS review found the "No Build" alternative is the best for the environmental resources of the parks but will not make a final decision until after the public comment period.These public lands belong to all of us and are held in the public trust.The NPS must deny this project and select the route that is best for our environment and our parks, the "No Build" Alternative.

"Our National Parks belong to all of us.John Muir called them 'the cathedral of nature'.This power line is a desecration of our parks and NPS needs to choose the "No Build" alternative to stop this.The Susquehanna-Roseland line will be visible from across the park and Appalachian Trail, creating a scar on the landscape and more air pollution in our parks effecting future generations," *said Jeff Tittel*, *Director, NJ Sierra Club*. The NPS considered several alternatives to the project including routes completely outside the Delaware Water Gap.However an alternative route would continue to have impacts on the Appalachian Trail and the Highlands region, which is state and federally recognized as a critical environmental resource area.If the power line is built all the additional pollution from the coal plants would impact the parks, undermining the health of hikers, fisherman and other that recreate in our national park units.The "No Build" Alternative is the option that would prevent the destruction of resources both within and outside the park units. Last week the two utilities behind the project, PSE&G and PPL announced they would be proposing a mitigation plan as part of their comments on the DEIS.The mitigation plan will not be subject to public review during this comment period.It includes $30 million in land acquisitions, but you cannot mitigate for the destruction of a National Park.This project would ruin the breathtaking vistas and critical resources of our National Parks, diminishing the visitor experience and those impacts cannot be reversed.

"This is not mitigation, this is a rationalization.The resources of the park will be impaired and damaged by this line, undermining the public trust in our National Parks. The Susquehanna-Roseland line will have permanent negative impacts on our parks and the utilities cannot make up for this kind of destruction by buying lands in other places," *said Jeff Tittel*. This money comes off the backs of the ratepayers anyway, not the corporations.The more PPL and PSEG spend on mitigation and construction of the line the more they make since they are guaranteed an almost 13% profit on expenditures for the transmission line.They will spend $30 million in mitigation and make $4 million in additional profit. The project will allow for the production of more coal-fired energy in Pennsylvania, creating more coal pollution that will impact people's health while they are using the parks.This project violates the Haze Rule which calls for cleaning up the air in our National Parks for both environmental and scenic purposes.Constructing the Susquehanna-Roseland line, a superhighway for coal-fired energy, continues our dependence on fossil fuels at a time when we should be investing in clean energy solutions. The draft EIS only looks at impacts within the boundaries of the National Parks.The greater impacts that will be felt along the entire right of way were excluded from the study.We believe the scope of this environmental review must include impacts to the Highlands region, the historic and environmental resources of the Kittatinny Ridge communities, and impacts to the health and safety of homeowners along the expanded right of way as these impacts will occur as a direct result of the NPS approval of the project. NPS will hold three public hearings starting tonight on the draft EIS.The first meeting tonight will be held in Bushkill, Pennsylvania.A meeting will also be held tomorrow in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and on Thursday evening in Lafayette, New Jersey. The NPS was required to prepare the environmental document under the National Environmental Policy Act.The draft review found the "No Build" Alternative to be the "environmentally-preferred route" but NPS will not selected its preferred route until after the public comment period when the Final EIS is released.The public will have a least 30 days to comment on the final document and at the end of that review period the NPS will release a Record of Decision. The Susquehanna-Roseland line is unnecessary as we improve our energy efficiency and demand response programs and as energy demand drops.The line will bring dirty coal-fired energy into New Jersey while cutting across our public lands.The Susquehanna-Roseland line is a major infrastructure project that raises electricity rates, increases our dependence on fossil fuels, and does not increase grid reliability.Instead we should be investing in local renewable energy. Had the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area existed when the power line was first proposed, it would have never been built.The line would have been removed if the Tock's Island dam project had moved forward.

"The Susquehanna-Roseland line would devastate the critical resources and stunning vistas of the Delaware Water Gap and Appalachian Trail while undermining New Jersey's clean energy future.There is no way to mitigate for those impacts to these national treasures, held in the public trust and the NPS must select the 'No Build' alternative to protect our parks," *said Jeff Tittel*.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2012-01-26 08:56:21

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