First, the bad news – the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission approving the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project:

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania – Affirms Pennsylvania’s S-R Order

And now, on to the pressure… The National Park Service is working to do it’s job as steward of our national park land, in this case, the federally declared Wild and Scenic Delaware River and the Delaware Water Gap.


Seems that some don’t think they should be allowed to do that job, and are pressuring them to “hurry up” so the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line can steamroll on through.  Well, BACK OFF!

Today the pressure on NPS was overt in two venues.  First, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) amends a bill to push the NPS to complete its environmental review one year ahead of schedule.  Say what?!?!?!


Then in my inbox a sour grapes press release from FERC Commissioner Phillip Moeller whining because the newly adopted rule won’t do what he wants, it won’t address “problems” like NPS doing its proper review of transmission projects:

July 21, 2011 Press Release – Phillip Moeller Whines

Here’s the Susquehanna-Roseland specific part:

“While I offer substantial praise for today’s final rule, the Commission should have taken a different approach to several important issues.  We must recognize that all of the nation’s difficulties in building needed transmission will not be resolved by this rule.  Rather, this rule largely addresses planning for long-distance transmission lines, which is only a subset of the critical issues that are inhibiting needed investment.

This rule cannot address issues like the delays caused by other federal agencies in the siting of important projects, as this Commission lacks the legal authority to require other federal agencies to act.  For example, see the comments of PJM in this proceeding at p. 17, which state that:

[t]he PJM Board approved the Susquehanna-Roseland 500 kV line in 2007.  The Susquehanna-Roseland line was approved by the state regulatory commissions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 2012.  The line is currently delayed by the National Parks Service [sic] and is not expected to be in service until 2014 at the earliest.

Ohhhhhhhh, isn’t it too bad.  He’s just one Commissioner, and he’s got to put his dissent out there as an extensive and extended rulemaking proceeding closes… Why is he pushing, why does he care, and why does his care rise to the level that he sends out a dissenting press release?  Lighten up, the National Park Service has a job to do.  As the testimony in the Susquehanna-Roseland proceeding before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities reflects, we are NOT going to freeze in the dark in an incubator without a job…

And here’s Pre. Charlie Dent’s whine:

Charlie Dent pushes expedited federal review of Susquehanna-Roseland power line proposal

Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 4:30 AM
By Tom Rowan Jr. | The Express-Times

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent is pushing for the National Park Service to complete its review of the controversial Susquehanna-Roseland power line proposal sooner than planned.

And the New Jersey Sierra Club wants Dent, R-Lehigh Valley, to back off.

Dent amended a bill approved July 12 by the House Appropriations Committee to call on the park service to finish its environmental impact statement on the project by 2012 rather than 2013.

“The committee is concerned about delays,” reads Dent’s amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Bill.

The Sierra Club this week issued a release claiming Dent added the amendment in an attempt to “handcuff the park service from doing their job in complete violation of the public trust” and “undercut the National Park Service and push an environmentally destructive and unnecessary project.”

First pitched in 2008, the Susquehanna-Roseland line has been described by the two power companies behind the plan — PPL Electric Utilities Corp. in Pennsylvania and Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey — as necessary to bolster the region’s power grid. The 130-mile power line is proposed to link the Berwick, Pa., area to Roseland, Essex County.

The 500-kilovolt line is being evaluated by the park service because the route, as approved by New Jersey and Pennsylvania utility regulators, crosses the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and other federal lands.

“The timely completion of the impact statement is of great importance to the reliability of the regional grid and is critical to the supply of electricity to 58 million consumers in 13 states and Washington, D.C.,” the bill reads.

The National Park Service earlier this year pushed its goal to finish the impact statement back from fall 2012 to January 2013, after the utility companies asked the agency to include another alternative in their review.

“Instead of standing up for our open spaces, Dent is working for PSE&G and PPL,” Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, is quoted as saying in the statement.

Collin Long, spokesman for Dent, responded Tuesday in an e-mail, “The congressman’s amendment does not show favor toward any of the alternatives being considered and respects the integrity of the environmental impact statement.

“It simply requires the National Park Service to follow their own timeline for completion of the review process, which already includes a six-month extension of their original deadline to October 2012.”

The appropriations bill awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives. When considered on the House floor, it will be open for modification through the amendment process.

If it passes through the House, it would be referred to the Senate.