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NPS Allows Destructive Power Line Through Delaware Water Gap

Date : Tue, 11 Sep 2012 15:50:40 -0400

Water Gap

For Immediate Release
September 4, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, 609-558-9100

NPS Allows Destructive Power Line Through Delaware Water Gap The National Park Service (NPS) has put corporate interests before protecting our parks.In their Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line, the agency selected the preferred route of PPL and PSEG through our national park units.The NPS was required to prepare the environmental document under the National Environmental Policy Act and is now expected to release a final Record of Decision and permits for the project within 30 days.This project will destroy the scenic vistas and important natural resources of our National Park lands, which belong to all of us.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.Instead of selecting the best alternative for the environment, the Parks, and our clean energy future, the "No Build" alternative, NPS is putting corporate interests before the public interest.The EIS found the project would cause $89 million in damage to the park but we would only receive $30 million in compensation from PPL and PSEG.

"The Obama administration has sold out our National Parks.Lands that are supposed to be protected for future generations have been turned over to power companies.The project will cause $89 million dollars in damages, while the mitigation package is less than half that, so the NPS is selling out our parklands at a discount to polluters.This is a dirty deal for dirty power and sets a dangerous precedent.It is now open season on our National Parklands.John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt would be ashamed of the NPS's actions," said Jeff Tittel, *Director, NJ Sierra Club*.

"We will continue fighting this project even in the Courts if necessary.We will stand up for the integrity of our National Parks even if the Department of Interior will not," continued Tittel. The NPS considered several alternatives to the project including routes completely outside the Delaware Water Gap along existing utility right of ways.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.The "No Build" Alternative is the only option that would prevent the destruction of resources both within and outside the park units. The approval was based on the $30-40 million mitigation plan proposed by the two utilities behind the project, PPL and PSEG.The plan was submitted on the last day of the public comment period and therefore not subject to public comment.$30 million would go to land acquisitions, but you cannot mitigate for the destruction of a National Park.This project will ruin the breathtaking vistas and critical resources of our National Parks, diminishing the visitor experience and those impacts cannot be reversed.

"This is all about the power of money, whether it is coal companies and utilities pushing a power line that will cut through a national park or people standing in line to get mitigation money so that they can profit on the destruction of a National Park's resources," said Jeff Tittel. The NPS approvals will have significant impacts outside the boundaries of the parks as well.The Highlands region and the historic and environmental resources of the Kittatinny Ridge communities will be impacted by this route selection.This decision will impact the health and safety of homeowners along the expanded right of way. 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.This NPS announcement comes just weeks after the grid operator PJM announced the cancellation of two similar transmission expansion projects, the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) and the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH).The cancellation of the lines was based on falling demand, new generation plants, and the efficiency of demand response programs, the same issues opponents to the Susquehanna-Roseland line have raised.

"We are seeing a drop in energy demand as a result of demand response and energy efficiency programs and we are seeing more local clean energy sources supplying New Jersey.We do not need transmission expansion projects to meet our energy needs, especially the Susquehanna-Roseland line which will destroy our public lands for corporate profit," *said Kate Millsaps, program assistant, NJ Sierra Club*.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
_________________________________________________________
NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives:
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Received on 2012-09-11 12:50:40

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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