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DRBC Approves Power Line Through Delaware Water Gap

Date : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 12:58:59 -0500

For Immediate Release
December 5, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, 609-558-9100

DRBC Approves Power Line Through Delaware Water Gap

Today the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) put the Delaware River at risk by approving the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.The polluting project crosses 72 miles of the Delaware watershed and will result in more erosion, flooding, destruction of habitat, and impacts to wetlands along the right-of-way and to adjacent waterbodies.The expansion of this power line will severely disturb water ways that the DRBC is entrusted with protecting.The Susquehanna-Roseland line crosses the Delaware River within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in which the River is protected as Scenic and Recreational under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and is a Special Protection Waters under the DRBC regulations with an anti-degradation standard with no measurable change in water quality.PSEG and PPL cannot meet that standard with the impacts from construction, erosion, drilling, and clear cutting.Approving this project will result in major impacts to our waterbodies, wetlands, and critical lands held in the public trust.

"The DRBC did not do its job in protecting the Basin.This power line will have major impacts on water quality and cause irreparable damage to the watershed and must be denied. What part of 'Special Protection Water' don't they get? The Delaware River is special and needs to be protected," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club. The project conflicts with the DRBC's comprehensive Plan because it will have a major impact on water resources and wetlands.The project does not comply with the DRBC Water Quality Regulations as it will cause severe adverse impacts to a Special Protection Water under the DRBC rules.The DRBC is moving ahead with approvals without final construction plans in place and will no real mitigation plan.The mitigation plan is vague measures the company promises to uphold with no plan for action.Mitigating this type of destruction on public lands simply cannot be done.

"There is not supposed to be any change in water quality under these standards and Susquehanna-Roseland line cannot meet those standards.The DRBC did not do its job and has sold out the Basin again as it has on fracking, gas pipelines, and flooding," said Jeff Tittel. The DRBC is not fully reviewing all impacts this project will have on important water resources.They are not looking at the water quality impacts from silt and sedimentation and pollution from fill.The docket does not address the impacts of loss of vegetative cover or long term maintenance activities on an expanded right-of-way in these areas.There will be increased soil compaction along the right-of-way as a result of construction activities and equipment, resulting in more runoff into adjacent wetlands and these impacts are not described.Much of the construction and the new access roads will be located in steep slope areas where erosion impacts are most severe.New towers and maintenance roads will be constructed in wetland areas. These impacts are not temporary.Soil compaction will be permanent in deeper layers and vegetative regrowth will take many years.It could be decades before these areas return to full function if that is even possible.

"Wetlands that are supposed to be protected for future generations are being turned over to power companies.The Susquehanna-Roseland line will be not only a scenic blight across the Delaware River watershed but will result in more flooding and loss of important habitat," *said Kate Millsaps, Conservation Program Coordinator, NJ Sierra Club*. Any alternative route to this project would continue to have impacts on the Delaware River, important wetlands, the Appalachian Trail and the Highlands region which is home to over 30 municipalities in the Basin.Denying this project is the only option that would prevent the destruction of these critical resources. The National Park Service approved the project in September and environmental groups including the Sierra Club continue to challenge those approvals in federal court.

"We are challenging this outrageous decision by the NPS to protect the integrity of our public lands.With the decision today, the DRBC joins the NPS in failing to protect our most precious resources from this polluting power line.We now need the courts to do the job NPS and DRBC should have done and protect the Delaware River," said Jeff Tittel.

Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-12-06 09:58:59

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