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Court Battle Over Susquehanna-Roseland Line Continues

Date : Wed, 2 May 2012 11:13:09 -0400

For Immediate Release

May 2, 2012

Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Court Battle Over Susquehanna-Roseland Line Continues/ /

Today the New Jersey Appellate Court heard oral arguments by environmental and citizen groups challenging the Board of Public Utilities' (BPU) approval of the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line. The Eastern Environmental Law Center, representing the New Jersey Sierra Club and other organizations opposed to the Project, charged that the BPU did not consider all alternatives to PSEG's proposed transmission expansion project. Demand response, energy efficiency and other non-transmission alternatives can promote grid reliability and obviate the need for the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line and these options were not fully considered in the BPU's review of the Project. The groups are asking that the Court reverse the BPU's decision and remand it to the BPU so that a thorough examination of alternatives may be conducted and the latest information on this project can be included in the agency's decision-making.

"We are going to the Court of Appeals because the BPU did not do its job and we are seeking remedy from the court. There are more efficient, less expensive alternatives that move New Jersey toward a clean energy future," said Jeff Tittel, Director of NJ Sierra Club. "This line continues our reliance on toxic fossil fuels by shipping coal-fired power into New Jersey. Instead we should be looking toward demand response and renewable energy to meet our peak energy demands."

The environmental groups charge that the BPU wrongfully gave PSEG a preference and thus did not verify claims by PSEG that non-transmission alternatives, such as demand response, were unable to address predicted reliability violations and did not to be considered. Based on the lack of a robust alternatives analysis, the groups are requesting that the BPU's approval of the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line be overturned.

The BPU approved the Project in April 2010, while the National Park Service (NPS) is still completing a federal environmental review of the Project as it crosses the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Appalachian Trail. A decision from NPS is not expected until this fall.

PSEG originally argued before the BPU that the Project was needed to address predicted reliability violations beginning in 2012, but has now postposed the "in service" date until 2015. The truth of the matter is that this Line may not be needed at all since reliability concerns can be addressed through non-transmission based alternatives. PSEG tried to say the lights would be out by 2012 without the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line, but has managed to continue to provide reliable electricity using methods such as demand response to address potential reliability concerns until 2015, bringing into questions the previous claimed need for the Project.

If remanded to the BPU, the record for this Project can be supplemented to include the most recent energy use data. A report by the Electric Power Research Institute in September found that over the next ten years, energy demand will decline by about 0.5 percent each year. This is on top of a significant decline in the demand growth rate from 2000 to 2010. Demand across all sectors is only expected to grow by 0.7 percent per year through 2035.

Along with the New Jersey Sierra Club, the Eastern Environmental Law Center is also representing Environment New Jersey, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, New Jersey Environmental Federation, and Stop the Lines in the Court of Appeals.

"We believe the Court of Appeals should overturn this approval as the BPU did not do its due diligence in approving this Project. No non-transmission alternatives were studied, alternatives that would benefit our wallets, our lungs, and our clean energy future," said Jeff Tittel. "Merely accepting PSEG's claim that a costly transmission line is the only way to meet grid reliability is irresponsible."

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-05-02 08:13:09

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