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Salazar Sells Out Delaware Water Gap to Powerline Companies

Date : Thu, 13 Jun 2013 14:28:13 -0400


For Immediate Release

June 13, 2012

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

Salazar Sells Out Delaware Water Gap to Powerline Companies

Ongoing litigation over the National Park Service's approval of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through 3 National Park units has uncovered that the Department of the Interior accepted $60 million in mitigation money to approve the utility companies preferred route.Minutes from a meeting between utility officials and NPS and DOI staff brought forward as part of the appellate court challenge found NPS had originally designated the no build alternative as the environmentally preferred route and an alternative that would bring the line outside park boundaries as the preferred route.However at the meeting the record shows then DOI Secretary Ken Salazar demanded, "So here's the deal: I want $60 m [million] and I want it now" for the project to be cited along the companies' preferred route through the park.The companies accepted the deal on the condition of the power line receiving completing its environmental review process by October 2012.

"This clearly shows that approving the Susquehanna - Roseland Line was a transactional decision not one based on science or what was best for the Delaware Water Gap. We believed the mitigation money was an excuse to approve the line now we know it was a sell out. This is one of the saddest chapters in the over one hundred year history of the National Park Service," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club.

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line would cause irreparable harm to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, eighth most visited park in the national park system, the Appalachian Trail, and the Middle Delaware River.The environmental review of the line under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) found the project would cause $89 million in damage to the park.The Park Service is taking $56 million in compensation from PPL and PSEG but you cannot mitigate damages to our national parks, which are supposed to be preserved for future generations.The "No Build" Alternative is the only option that would prevent the destruction of resources both within and outside the park units and should have been selected by NPS to protect our parks from this project.

The Sierra Club and other groups, represented by Earthjustice and the Eastern Environmental Law Center, are challenging the projects approvals in the Appellate Court on the grounds that the approval violated key federal legislation protecting our parksand the lack of a robust alternatives review by NPS.The groups are also challenging the acceptance of the mitigation package by NPS.

"We said from the beginning the $60 million was blood money to buy off opposition, but we did not know it included the Department of Interior. The money PSEG is using is actually our money not theirs.It comes from the ratepayers and PSEG makes $7 million in profit spending our money for this pay off," said Jeff Tittel. "PSEG stands for Public Service buys Everyone in Government."

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Received on 2013-06-13 11:28:13

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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