STL in the news!

June 12th, 2010


Stop The Lines! has appealed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ determination on the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line, I’ve been representing them in this fracas, and from the news reports below, it looks like we’ve hit all the bases!

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line is absurd — they’re tearing down an existing low capacity line and putting up towers twice as high with … well… imagine this, QUAD bundled 500 kV line.  Really… that is what they applied for, but midway through the hearing, they admitted that the structures couldn’t handle that and reduced it to TRI-bundled 500kV.  ACSR at that, could it be more primitive?  It’s absurd, if they 190 foot towers fell, with a 75 foot Right of Way, that’s 115 feet that it could extend beyond the Right of Way.  It’s beyond absurd — it’s insane, and earth to mars, there are people right there, RIGHT THERE, don’t they care?


Plus it’s not needed, the Marketing Analytics report says it all:

Marketing Analytics – PJM 2009 State of the Market Report

Here’s the BPU order that we’ve challenged:

NJ BPU Order – April 21, 2010

This is from the Pocono Record — be sure to click on the linkedarticle below to get to the Pocono Record comment section:

Power line fight heads to NJ court

By Wayne Witkowski

For the Pocono Record
June 11, 2010

New Jersey activists fighting proposed increases in the voltage and tower height of the Roseland-to-Susquehanna power lines are taking their battle to appeals court.

Four environmental groups and one onf the two private organizations made up of concerned homeowners filed court papers this week against the state’s Board of Public Utilities and utility company PSE&G. The papers charge that BPU, which approved the plan unanimously without comment in February, did not exercise due diligence in properly reviewing the proposal.

Stop the Lines, based in Fredon, N.J., has filed suit. It is one of two active private organizaitions in New Jersey opposing the project, along with the recently established Save the Park group in Hardwick Township, N.J., which has a sign advertising its cause on Hollow Road in Smithfield Township.

The suit contends the review lacked a proper analysis of the need for the project, failed to consider the environmental impacts of construction or weigh the secondary impacts of importing coal energy from Pennsylvania.

The existing 47-mile link of the 145-mile route, which extends through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and specifically through Saw Creek Estates in Lehman Township, would add 500,000 kilovolts and raise towers to 195 feet. It is under the auspices of the PJM Interconnection, which includes PPL on the Pennsylvania side and PSE&G, which is looking to recoup $3 billion in costs stemming from the deregulation of the energy sector in New Jersey.

The project still awaits approval by the National Park Service. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez recently sent a letter to park Superintendent John Donahue asking him and the National Park Service to exercise due diligence in its decision, which is due in 2012.

PSE&G spokesman Karen Johnson defended BPU’s decision, saying PSE&G is aware of the appeal and believes there is “ample evidence” to support its decision.

And from the Daily Record:

Morris area citizens group sues over power line plan


The citizens group Stop The Lines has filed an appeal challenging the state Board of Public Utilities’ approval of Public Service Electric and Gas Co.’s transmission line expansion through Morris, Sussex and Warren counties.

Stop The Lines’ appeal of the BPU’s January decision permitting the upgrade on PSE&G’s Susquehanna-Roseland power line is the second filed in appellate court in the last week. Four environmental groups that like Stop The Lines also had intervened in the proceedings filed an appeal last Friday.

The Stop the Lines appeal will focus on the lack of need for the expanded transmission line, which would add 500-kilovolt lines to towers as high as 195 feet along the 47 miles in New Jersey. The group also faults the BPU’s refusal to consider information on a possible decreased demand, health and safety impacts on landowners, residents and the environment and economic impacts ranging from loss of property value and tax revenue to inability of homeowners to obtain mortgages.

“Building 195-foot high towers within a 150-foot wide right-of-way is simply unreasonable,” said David Slaperud, a Stop The Lines trustee.

“We believe the ample evidence in the case fully supports the BPU decision that this line is needed for reliability,” said PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

PSE&G is awaiting final environmental permits to begin working on the eastern half of the $750 million project, from Hopatcong to Roseland. It hopes to begin work this summer. The western portion, from Hopatcong to the Delaware River, has to await the completion of a National Park Service review because the line runs through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. That is expected to take until 2012.

The project was challenged in the BPU by citizen and environmental groups, several municipalities and the Montville School District. Ratepayers would foot the bill.

The line crosses from Pennsylvania at the Delaware Water Gap and proceeds through Warren and Sussex Counties. More than half the line would traverse Morris County, through Jefferson, Rockaway Township, Kinnelon, Boonton Township, Montville, Parsippany and East Hanover before ending in Roseland.

And in the New Jersey Herald:

Activists appeal state’s power line approval

FREDON — The most outspoken local opponent of the Susquehanna-Roseland power line is appealing its state approval in the court system.

Stop the Lines, the activist group that has been the most vocal and omnipresent adversary to the PSE&G line since its proposal in 2008, is appealing the Board of Public Utilities approval issued in February.

The appeal focuses on the need of the 500kV line, running 146 miles from the Poconos across northwestern New Jersey and into the heart of the Garden State. They will also question the economic impacts to property owners and municipalities along the line — which will double the height and triple the power of the existing 1920s-era transmission towers.

“Building 195-foot-high towers within a 150-foot wide right-of-way is simply unreasonable,” said David Slaperud, a Stop the Lines Trustee.

Four state environmental groups also appealed the BPU decision by the June 7

PSE&G has maintained brownouts could roll down the line as early as 2012 if the upgrade is not complete. However, the National Park Service blessing to cross the Delaware Water Gap will not be available until that year — and PSE&G put off seeking final environmental permits for the 20-mile Sussex County stretch of the line last month.

It’s official, well, semi-official, there’s still no word from the Board of Public Utilities itself!

Here’s PSEG’s objection and their missive asking that the time to respond to Commissioner Fiordaliso’s request for comment be cut short:

PSEG Request to Shorten Time to Contest Official Notice

Dig the last paragraph:

Accordingly, PSE&G respectfully requests that the Board shorten the time to comment from January 16 to January 12 and further requests that the Commission act on the evidence before it and approve the Petition on January 15 without further delay.

Oh, right, yes, ma’am, we’ll get right to it!  They must be dreaming…

And as if that weren’t funny enough, here’s the PSEG argument against oral argument:

PSEG Response to Motion for Oral Argument

… but here it is in B&W:

BPU delays decision on power line


The state’s Board of Public Utilities is delaying its decision on the proposed Susquehanna-Roseland power line while it factors in the withdrawal of a similar power line proposal in Virginia.

The board was slated to decide on the New Jersey half of the power line on Jan. 15. However, the board pushed back the decision date, after opponents filed last-minute paperwork about Virginia’s proposed PATH.

The new evidence cites predicted decreases for regional energy needs delaying another regional power transmission project. Specifically, the Susquehanna-Roseland opponents are now citing recent setbacks for similar “reliability projects,” due to reports that power demands are down, and the need for power transmission lines is declining, the opponents say.

In late December, the PATH Allegheny Virginia Transmission Corp. moved to withdraw its 276-mile, $1.8 billion high-voltage transmission line proposal which would run through West Virginia and Virginia. The company says it will resubmit the plans in the fall. The reported reasons are the decreased demand during the recession and energy conservation.

The developments in Virginia could now factor into the Garden State decision. BPU Commissioner Joseph Fiordaliso wrote a letter Wednesday to all the involved parties announcing that the recent PATH request would be factored into the evidence for the Susquehanna-Roseland line. Fiordaliso set a deadline of Jan. 15 for the lawyers in the case to contest the new evidence, or otherwise comment on how it should factor into the pending decision.

Catherine Tamasik, the attorney for a seven-town coalition opposing the lines, said it could be a positive development for her clients — but it was too early to tell what the new evidence inclusion could mean.

“The BPU is certainly aware of the changing energy environment, and they’re going to take a look at it,” she said Friday.


Word just out that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will NOT be deciding Susquehanna-Roseland on January 15, or any time before that either.  Well… and that’s good because Pennsylvania put off the decision until February 12.

Be sure to check out the REPLY BRIEFS — HERE!

Yesterday, we got a missive from Commissioner Fiordaliso, the one who presided over the hearing, and he’s taking “Official Notice” of the Potomac Allegheny Transmission Highline – PATH withdrawal, and two documents, the original and the amended PATH-VA Motions to Withdraw.

Fiordaliso Letter – January 7, 2009

Here’s the sensitivity analysis that the PATH-VA withdrawal was based on:

PATH – Cover letters & sensitivity analysis

So the NJ BPU has put off the decision, like PA, and they’re noticing that PATH went down the drain because it wasn’t needed.  New Jersey’s governor will be inaugurated on January 19th… could the BPU deny it quick, like right away, before Chris Christie can do anything?  After the 19th, some of the Commissioners will be sent packing, so why not go out with flair… errr…  flare…

It’s clear this line is not needed, not needed anymore than the MAPP and PATH lines, which have been delayed, parts taken out, and withdrawn due to lack of need.  Here’s the PJM peak demand chart just released in the latest PJM Load Forecast:

PJM 2010 Load Forecast Report


Graphs from p. 24.  With decreases like that, do tell, where do they come up with those projections?

Here’s the chart, p. 72:

PJM Peak Demand 1998-2009-p72

Once more with feeling:  IT’S NOT NEEDED!



Just in, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has delayed the Evidentiary Hearings for PSE&G’s (and PJM’s!) Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line, from the week of October 19 to the week of November 16!

BPU Amended Scheduling Order 2009-09-11

Even better, the Discovery that was due right now is now not due for two more weeks! Two more weeks of figuring out how to torture those poor witnesses for PSE&G!!

For more info, see STOP THE LINES!

And that fits well with the CapX 2020 Brookings hearings, that were supposed to begin November 23 but now probably starting the week after.

fredonschool Fredon School

Dig this:

“Visual simulation” of what towers will look like compared with present strutures

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through Pennsylvania and New Jersey is getting a little hairier, YEAAAAA.  Fredon PALS, a group centered around the Fredon School, which is facing transmission lines over its property(school, above), sent their first Discovery over the bow today.  It’s good stuff, I love it when this happens.

Fredon PALS – First Set of Discovery Requests to PSE&G

Until now, we’d been the only Intervenors who’d sent PSE&G any Discovery, Stop the Lines, that is, and with this filing today, Welcome to the Club, Fredon PALS!!!