Susquehanna-Roseland is but a small part of a much bigger plan:


For more information on the Ssuquehanna-Roseland transmission line, see:


The National Park Service seems to be taking a rational approach — a thorough review of impacts on public lands:

National Park Service plans power line study


The National Park Service wants a full environmental impact study done on how construction of new 500-kilovolt electric transmission lines will affect the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the river itself and the Appalachian Trail, a designated national heritage trail.

Just more than four miles of the proposed route crosses through the recreation area on its way from Susquehanna, Pa., to Roseland in Essex County. The Pennsylvania section is being proposed by PPL and the New Jersey section would be built and owned by Public Service Electric & Gas, the state’s largest power utility.

The National Park Service had the option to cede oversight to the utility-regulating agencies of the two states, but announced that “the NPS will adhere to its own regulatory and approval process” regarding the lines.

The proposed route follows an existing right-of-way which contains 230-kilovolt lines which were built in the late 1920s and pre-dates the recreation area. But when the federal government purchased the properties, it also became the party to the rights-of-way. In addition, to construct the new towers, the utilities will need additional, temporary rights-of-way.

Construction over environmentally sensitive areas along other parts of the route has given rise to much of the public opposition to the project.

On Monday night, the Byram Township Council reversed an earlier vote and unanimously agreed to apply to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to be an active participant in the permit process. The council’s earlier vote had been because of the legal cost if it went alone, but Byram will now be part of a group of municipalities.

The council has objections to losing local control over how the construction will be carried out, as well as the impact on local property taxes, not just on those properties adjacent to the lines, but on properties which are within “eye-shot” of the lines and the towers, which would be about twice as tall as the current towers.

The new transmission lines are being proposed as a way to upgrade the reliability of the electric power grid in northern New Jersey and to prepare for an expected increase in demand. The two utilities are facing a 2012 deadline to have the project up and running.

The full environmental study being proposed by the park service could take 18 months or more to complete. Experts, hired under contract by the park service, need time to do their studies and conduct a series of public meetings and hearings as part of the information-gathering process as well as part of the decision-making process.

PSE&G has been working with the park service for about a year, said Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for the utility. In November, PSE&G and PPL jointly applied for the park service permit.

“We will continue to work closely with them to provide additional information and utilize their suggestions of construction methods,” Johnson said. “In doing so, we hope to help this review process move along efficiently.”

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