Posted on September 18, 2010 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

So, the PJM recommends that PPL and PSE&G build a new transmission line because it is needed to ensure the reliability of the grid.  In PPL’s latest attempt to bulldoze (literally) this project through, they recommend cramming this 500kv monster through the 100 ft. right of way in the park.  That’s a 200 ft. tall structure by the way.  Wouldn’t you think the right of way would at least need to be as tall as the structure?  That would seem like common sense.

On the flip side, PPL and PSE&G have chosen to IGNORE a key recommendation by PJM – the recommended right of way.  Guess how much PJM recommends a single circuit 500kv line’s ROW be?  THREE HUNDRED FEET!  Does anyone have a 300 ft. ROW in Lehigh or Moore township?  I know the one behind me is 150 ft.  Why wouldn’t this come up previously?  Well…PJM isn’t exactly a legally binding organization with laws to be enforced, which means these things are more like guidelines really anyway (see Dr. Peter Venkman).

If this line is needed to prevent  outages like the 2004 outage, which in part was believed to be caused by poor vegatation management, wouldn’t you think PPL would do the responsible thing and use the full recommended 300 ft. right of way?  They certainly felt it was worth a larger ROW for at least one section of the line.

Posted on August 11, 2010 in Concerns, Government, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

The National Park Service has, rightfully so, set the record straight regarding PPL’s misleading campaign.  Make no mistake, it is not the National Park Service that is bringing Route C back to light, it is PPL.  They are putting us in the awkward position of having to either fight the National Park Service just so they can get their way, or face future threat by them along Route C.

Here is the official release from the National Park Service.:

National Park Service Delaware Water Gap NRA &
Appalachian National Scenic Trail News Release

www.nps.gov/dewa & www.nps.gov/appa

Release date: Tuesday, August 10, 2010
National Park Service Debunks Myths on Susquehanna to Roseland Environmental Impact Statement

BUSHKILL, PA – Superintendents John J. Donahue and Pamela Underhill of the National Park Service (NPS) announce the following clarifications regarding the NPS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line Project.  It is critically important that the record is set straight on this important issue. Myths and misinformation regarding the NPS environmental analysis of the Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line Proposal are very damaging to the public’s ability to analyze the factual information being presented in this extremely important process. The recent public relations barrage about this project, whether misinformed or disingenuous, has left the public at a severe disadvantage by distorting the facts involved. The following information clarifies the facts about the EIS and the upcoming alternatives workshops.
NPS has neither selected a route, nor directed the utilities (PPL and PSE&G) on which route to build. The NPS is not in the transmission line building business; line construction is the province of the power companies. However, the NPS clearly has the appropriate experience to analyze and determine the potential environmental impacts of any proposal to cross lands and waters of the United States administered by the National Park Service. No possible route can avoid the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, since it runs from Maine to Georgia. The alternatives describe the locations where NPS properties could be crossed, but it remains the responsibility of the power companies to determine where they will site their lines outside of Federal jurisdiction.

The NPS decision will not be reached until 2012, after the first comprehensive environmental review of this proposal ever conducted is complete, including the analysis of impacts to the human and natural environment and incorporating full public participation. No thorough analysis of this proposed project, including the No Action alternative has been conducted to date.

Since all proposed alternatives would cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, thus requiring a permit, the NPS is required by law to analyze routes outside of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Trying to place responsibility for their threatened use of their own Route C on the National Park Service by mailing letters to residents, along a route that has already been dismissed by NPS, can only serve to diminish the public trust in this important process.

PPL targeted its Route C as a future-use right-of-way (ROW) in their official comments submitted to NPS during the February 2010 scoping period. PPL already owns a majority of the rights along this route, according to their application to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The construction of their present preferred alternative does not preclude construction of the future-use ROW, Route C.

All NPS alternatives were developed using existing ROWs. The proposal by the utilities (Alternative 2) is not the only route sited on existing transmission ROW, as the public has been led to believe. In fact, the proposal by the utilities to the NPS includes a request for the addition of a new permanent, as well as temporary, construction ROW from the NPS.

 Some of the alternatives are significantly shorter in length and could potentially save money for rate payers. For example, Alternative 5 (along Interstate-80) is not proposed to be in the highway corridor, but simply to shadow it, significantly reducing the distance between endpoints.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval for rate increases, allowing for the spread of project construction costs, was received long before the utilities approached the public and NPS about their proposal. NPS did not receive a complete application until March 2009. The duration of the projected schedule for the EIS is well within the normal range for a project of this size and scope and is in fact being completed expeditiously.

The NPS construction and ROW permits are not the only requirements for building this project. The utilities have not received all of the required permits or approvals from the governmental organizations in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or from any Federal agencies, except for the conditional approvals from Pennsylvania PUC and the NJ Board of Public Utilities.

PSE&G recently announced a delay of three years before any construction will begin, thus making the in-service date of June 2012 irrelevant. According to PJM Interconnection, they are currently working with the utilities to develop a new plan that will upgrade existing generators to ensure the delivery and distribution of any needed energy and to meet energy demands.

Similar to the Tocks Island Dam project, a hurried environmental review would only prevent public involvement from taking place, potentially derailing a proposal refined by public input. Repeated environmental disasters have demonstrated the importance of thorough planning and impact analysis before projects are approved.

The National Park Service does not build transmission lines, but is entrusted with the protection of the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of these parks now and for future generations. A timely decision will be issued by the NPS once the public has had a reasonable opportunity to review and participate in the process based on a scientific analysis of the impacts to the natural and human environments.
          -NPS-

Experience Your America
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Posted on February 28, 2010 in Community, Government, PPL by Matthew Sekol1 Comment »

Our own Robert LeBus and yours truly were in an article this morning in the Morning Call about Route B.  I think Robert really captured the spirit of what we’re trying to preserve here.  You can read the article here:
 
http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a7_5power.7191594feb28,0,1124414.story
 
On another note, the article states that the National Parks Service only has 150 comments submitted via their website.  Since our mailing list has over 300 addresses and I know other groups are submitting comments against the line going through the park, we really need to step up and take action!  Don’t assume others are taking the responsibility!
 
This is a reminder to TAKE ACTION!
Steps to Take:
Read the Scoping Newsletter
Click to Make a Comment on the scoping letter at the top of the page.
On the form, you may also identify yourself as a Member of Drop the Lines. 
Comments can only be made through March 5, 2010.
Recommended Talking Points
– The National Parks Service does not care about private property or the actual need of the line, only the public land in the park! 
– While no power line would be the most preferable, that National Park Service will not perform a full investigation of the line itself. 
– Under the NIETC act, the government can take your land for this power line, but they CANNOT take State or Federal lands using eminent domain
– If a full investigation is not possible, we believe issuing the permit for Route B is the best course.
 
As I’m reading John Donahue’s comments this morning – a thought occurs.  If this power line is in the best interest of the public, then why not let the full public take the brunt of the route by placing it through the park?

Posted on February 16, 2010 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »
We encourage everyone to try and attend tonight’s National Park Service meeting and have your say regarding the power line.  We will have representation at tonight’s meeting for the group, but a larger crowd would most likely get more attention. 
 
We encourage you to first read the Scoping Newsletter,
 
If you cannot attend a meeting, please click to Make a Comment on the scoping letter.  On the form, you may also identify yourself as a Member of Drop the Lines.  Comments may be made through March 5, 2010.
 
Keep in mind that the National Park Service is not only asking for an Environmental Impact Statement for Route B, but re-examining ALL ROUTES!
 
Meeting Format
Open House and Presentation to the Public
Formal Public Comment Session
Return to Open House
 
Meeting Locations
Tuesday at Fernwood Hotel at Route 209 and River Road in Bushkill, PA
6 to 8:30 p.m
 
Wednesday at Camp Jefferson, 81 Weldon Road in Lake Hopatcong, NJ
6 to 8:30 p.m
 
Thursday at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, 199 Smith Road in Parsippany, NJ
6 to 8:30 p.m
 
If you have any questions or issues filling out the form online, you may also make a comment by mailing:
 
National Park Service
ATTN: DEWA PPL EIS Planning Team
Denver Service Center Planning Division
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
 
Note:  All comments made become part of the public record.  If you would like your comments private, please make a note.
Posted on February 13, 2010 in Community, Concerns, Environment, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Many of you have reported receiving a letter from PPL this week or seeing an article in the Morning Call regarding the Susquehanna-Roseland Power Line.  While the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission and the NJ Board of Public Utilities have approved the line, the National Park Service has decided to re-examine all routes again because Route B runs through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
 
The park already contains a utility line, previously approved by Congress decades ago, but would require expanding the right of way and installing some access roads.  PPL still believes the most effective route for the power line is Route B.
 
The board will be meeting shortly to discuss our next steps.  It will most likely involve a letter writing or email campaign.  Please look for another email in the coming days.

Posted on September 3, 2008 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

That’s right – outside of the rate cap coming off and a 30% utility bill increase, the Morning Call reports this morning that PPL is trying to get a 74 cents/month rate increase in place to replace aging power lines, but also for new transmission lines.

This is why we ask for continued support from the community.  This is clear evidence and a reminder that the threat of lines through our area is not transitory.

 

Posted on August 25, 2008 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Some of you are familiar with two other transmission projects in PA that our group is watching.  One is in Bucks County, being fought by SBULU and the other is the AP TrAIL project being opposed by StoptheTowers.

Well, there’s some encouraging news from the latter.  It seems two Pennsylvania judges agreed with many points brought up by the StoptheTowers group. 

You can read the AP article or go right through the 364 page report.

Posted on August 11, 2008 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

We are humbly asking anyone who can to donate to our newly formed organization – Drop the Lines, Inc.  This non-profit group has been formed to keep our interests around the power line issue active for many years to come. 

We will remain active even after the PUC votes on the current PPL/PSE&G Route B solution.  Just because PPL/PSE&G have not picked Route C this time, does not mean that they will not come back to this area in the future!  Stay vigilant and make a donation today!

Posted on August 7, 2008 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

As iterated in the meeting last night, our fight is not over.  We need to keep a close eye on the machinations around Route B assessment and planning.

PPL and PSE&G could come out and switch their opinion that Route C is best if required federal constructions permits do not come through.

I think two articles illistrate this point very well.

Pocono Record – National Park Service responds to high-voltage power plan
Pocono Record – Massive power line will cut through Poconos, national park

We need to stay vigilant and we will by continuing to hold monthly meetings and gathering donations from our active members in case we need to move quickly.  This could be tomorrow, next year or even 10 years from now.

Keep up the good work and don’t let up!

Posted on August 5, 2008 in PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

While we have reason to celebrate, we need to be cautious in claiming mission accomplished.  We have gained some time, and we may have PPL’s attention, but we also need to keep in mind that about 92% of Route C in Pennsylvania uses existing or future right of way owned by PPL Electric Utilities and this includes all the rights of way in Northampton County.

We can fully expect PPL to work quietly to acquire the missing 8% just as they did to acquire their existing 92%.  We need to work together to identify the PPL rights of way in Northampton County and find a way to purchase them back.

We also need to remember that the federal government designated most of Pennsylvania to be part of the national power line transmission corridor.  The NIETC corridor covers 52 of 67 counties in Pennsylvania, including Northampton County.  The designation gives the federal government power to overrule the state in siting of large electric transmission lines.  We are not trying to stop the responsible development and distribution of energy as we all benefit from it, but we need to make sure the development is safe and that those who are asked to sacrifice their homes and their quality of life are properly and justly compensated.

By continuing to work together now we can strengthen our position, protect our neighborhood and help others protect theirs.  We can make sure the law in Pennsylvania is changed to fairly compensate Pennsylvania residents not based on the value of the land but on the profit generated by the transmission line.  This will make sure that great care will be used in maximizing existing lines before new ones are created.

Please join us on Wednesday August 6th 2008 at 6:00 pm at the Klecknersville Rangers fire company, we need your help.

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