The Delaware Water Gap is one of the few National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers, and it’s in a struggle to stay that way.  I represented Stop the Lines before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities administrative proceeding, which ended with a permit issued to PSEG.  Boooo-hisssss.

TODAY, a lawsuit was filed by National Parks Conservation Assoc.,  Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Rock the Earth, Sierra Club, Stop the Lines versus Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior and head of National Park Service, and Dennis Reidenbach as Northeast Regional Director of National Park Service:

Complaint – National Parks Conservation Assoc., et al. v. Salazar & Reidenbach

GOOD!  Serves them right, after caving to Obama’s transmission fast-tracking!

So what’s the scoop?  PSEG and PPL have targeted the Delaware Water Gap for a crossing of its Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.  Here’s the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PAGE for the project.

Here’s the full map:


Which is a small part of the bigger picture, part of line #1 on this Project Mountaineer, the transmission for coal scenario hatched at a top secret FERC meeting in 2005:


The alternatives evaluated by the National Park Service’s Delaware Water Gap in their EIS looks like this (click on map for larger version):


Here’s the link to the National Park Service’s Final EIS.  Inexplicably, National Park Service went from identifying the “no action alternative” as the Environmentally Preferred Alternative,  to a (rolling over) “STICK IT HERE!”  Oh, and a payoff of $30-40 million.  And then there’s “pre-approval” of the project by NPS…

Stay tuned!



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.


Imagine 190 foot transmission towers through the Delaware Water Gap, between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

That’s what’s proposed by PSE&G for its Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line.  This quad/tri bundled 500kV line is HUGE, ugly beyond belief, and it’s just so big that I can hardly comprehend, there’s nothing that large that I’ve found.  Others like it are being cancelled by PJM due to lack of demand, and this one should be too…

From the Pocono Record:

Park Service report on power line plan released

Anyway, the National Park Service is doing an Environmental Impact Statement, and leading up to that is “scoping,” which, as Grant Stevenson noted yesterday at the Task Force meeting, is THE most misunderstood term.  I agree.  It just zooms over people’s heads, and comments end up being of the “I hate this project because___” and nothing that relates to what the scope of the environmental review should be.  Utter waste of time, and something to be mindful of with the CapX 2020 transmission scoping meetings coming up.

SCOPE: Range, area of coverage, breadth

So “scoping” in this sense is the range, area of coverage, and breadth of environmental review.

We had comments on the scope a few months ago, and there were something like 6,500 comments.  Yes, that’s right, SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED!  At the meetings I went to, it was standing room only and the comments were notably on point, they were profound examples of those rare uplifting meetings.  Facilitation of the meetings was so good it felt like they really were interested in what we had to say.  It was all taken down by a court reporter.  THAT level of attention and appreciation is SO rare… and dig this … afterwards I RECEIVED A THANK YOU NOTE FOR PARTICIPATING.  That is a first, I’ve never gotten a thank you note from an agency for showing up and speaking out.  I’m thinking of framing it (after sending it to MN’s Dept. of Commerce).


Here’s their report:

Public Scoping Report – Susquehanna-Roseland transmission

The next step?

The NPS is currently developing preliminary alternatives for the project. Our plan is to host public meetings to present and receive feedback on these preliminary alternatives this summer. Announcements and news releases will be prepared to inform and invite the public to these meetings.

We’ll keep you posted.


Stop the Lines!!!

National Park Service has extended the deadline for EIS Scoping Comments on the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project.  WHEW!  Now we have until March 12 to send our comments in!

NPS Home Page for Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Project

Get your clues on Comments from what they do and do not include:

NPS Internal Scoping Document

It’s in the Pocono Times:

Transmission line public scoping period extended

From the NPS blog:

High public interest has prompted the superintendents of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and National Recreation Water Trail to extend by a week the public comment period on a proposal to run a transmission line across the areas.

The comment period was scheduled to end today, but has been extended through March 12.

“Scoping comments,” those that suggest areas the Park Service should examine in preparing an environmental impact statement, are being taken to help agency managers prepare an EIS on a proposal to replace existing 80-foot transmission towers with larger towers (up to 200 feet high) and add an additional 500 kV transmission line.

Park Service officials say the request would necessitate widening the cleared area and the existing right-of-way and constructing access roads. The proposed expanded line and new towers would impact the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and National Recreation Water Trail; and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

The EIS will analyze a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives; evaluate potential issues and impacts to the resources and values of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail park units, and identify mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

There are numerous ways for the public to provide comments on the public scoping phase of the planning process, including leaving a message on the Park Planning Information Telephone Line (570-426-2491), submitting comments online through a link on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment site, (select Appalachian NST or Delaware Water Gap NRA), or by mailing comments to:

National Park Service
Attention: DEWA PPL EIS Planning Team
Denver Service Center-Planning Division
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287

Detailed information about the need for the EIS and the project timeline
can be found on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public
Comment site:


PPL gets earful at Saw Creek public hearing

Nearly 300 come out for Bushkill power line hearing

Bushkill power line hearings draw hundreds

Let’s take a look at their SEC filings!

PPL’s 2008 10-K

PSEG 2008 10-K

Some utility toady on commenting on one of the articles above suggested I buy PPL stock… right… good idea…