Posted on September 30, 2010 in Concerns, Environment, Finance, Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

In 2009, PSE&G published a paper refuting the federal government’s need for a transmission superhighway.  Either they have lost their minds or they truly don’t believe this paper is relevant to the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line, which again, was outlined as part of a larger transmission superhighway outlined in 2005 by the PJM.
 
You can read this glorious self-defeating paper here and judge for yourself it’s relevance.  
 
I can’t even sum this up – it’s basically a lot of what we’ve been saying for the past few years now.  Truly mind boggling.  Stay with it, the insanity truly begins on Page 4!
 
http://www.pseg.com/info/media/pdf/clean_energy_wp.pdf

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 August 4, 2010 in Community, Concerns, Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »
A number of you have reported getting letters from PPL today about the latest action from the National Park Service.  Instead of finding ways to stop the line or move it around the park, the National Park Service is choosing to infuriate the public by creating 7 new options.  2 of these options go through our area (including the old Route C)!
 
We all need to spring to action once again to fight for our rural community, our families and our property.  Last time, we only had 23 people who submitted comments – we have to do better!
 
I strongly encourage all members to comment when it opens on August 9th.  I will send a reminder then or when information becomes available on how to comment.  For planning purposes, here is the information you need for upcoming hearings.
 
National Park Service public meetings will be held at three locations. In each location, an Open House will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a Public Hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010 – Fernwood Hotel and Resort, Bushkill, Pa.
• Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 – Stroudsmoor Country Inn, Stroudsburg, Pa.
• Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010 – Farmstead Golf and Country Club,
   Lafayette, N.J.
You can find out more information by visiting:
Here are the proposed routes:
Posted on February 17, 2010 in Concerns, Government by Matthew Sekol1 Comment »

Here is my submission for the National Parks Service.

While I believe the National Parks Service (NPS) is correct in requiring PPL and PSE&G to perform their due diligence in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), I also believe that additional steps should be taken.  If the National Park Service is willing to consider several options outside its jurisdiction, including the original proposals of Route A and C, I believe that the NPS should do a complete valuation, including:
 
     – a technical examination of the current and future need of the line based on a known reduction in electric usage and challenging PJM to prove the new line is still required*
     – an evaluation of building a power plant within New Jersey to service that area directly, creating local jobs and improving local economies**
     – an evaluation of the raptor migration corridor, which all 3 lines will impact***
     – a cost analysis on the displacement cost for people, property value depreciation, and the tax revenue loss in townships for the areas along all 3 proposed paths
 
I do not believe that the decision for an entire route should be made on the EIS study and public input alone for 4.18 miles of public land.  If the NPS pushes for only a provincial EIS and public input without truly examining the cost to Pennsylvania residents outside the park’s jurisdiction, they are performing a disservice to the state and potentially causing a conflict of interest between the Federal Government and its citizens.  Basing the permit’s outcome without a full evaluation of all the lines or considering the additional alternative of perhaps building a power plant in New Jersey, the NPS could force its same governing body to utilize eminent domain under the NIETC act to complete this line in another location.  This act would inspire one to believe that the Federal Government as a whole is out to protect its interests solely without concern for its residents.
 
Pennsylvania has a long standing tradition of being the Keystone State.  While this nomenclature was born from democracy and our geographic setting within the original union, this name has a very different meaning for today’s publicly trading utility companies.  Pennsylvania has become the state through which all energy passes.  Land in 52 out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania can be taken via eminent domain through the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor Act.  There is a clear disconnect when land in Pennsylvania can be used to service another state against its resident’s wishes under the guise of “public interest” when the state in need help refuses to help itself.

I strongly urge the NPS to fully evaluate all lines and all aspects of this argument before making a decision.  If that is not possible, I believe the best course of action would be to allow the Route B line to proceed through the park along the existing route.  PPL and PSE&G have stated that they will take extra precautions around the environment and going along the existing line would make the most sense.
 
*Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2009 “Weak Power Demand Dims Outlook”
   http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB125876259256658319-lMyQjAxMDI5NTI4MTcyNjEyWj.html
*Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2010 “Two-State Power Line Is Put Off”
   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126239144004113055.html
 
**Star News Online, December 23, 2009 “Nuclear power industry a boon to local economy”
   http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20091223/ARTICLES/912239954?Title=Nuclear-power-industry-a-boon-to-local-economy
**UMass and Center for American Progress-PERI, June 18, 2009 “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy”
   http://www.peri.umass.edu/economic_benefits/
 
*** Kittatinny-Shawangunk National Raptor Migration Corridor Project
   http://www.raptorcorridor.org

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 July 23, 2008 in Concerns, Environment, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

This afternoon, the media is covering a Bald Eagle which was shocked on a power line in western Easton.  It’s claws pierced the power line and the bird was shocked.  It’s a very unfortunate situation that serves as a reminder of one of our key concerns.

Morning Call – Eagle critically injured by West Easton power line
Lehigh Valley Live – Bald Eagle shocked on power line

I encourage you all to speak out against PPL and remind them that these birds will be impacted greatly by the power lines.  Not only with this risk, but through their migratory patterns and eco-system disruption.  Go read more about animals and power lines on the Environment page.

Posted on July 2, 2008 in Concerns, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Where did PPL get the idea of touting benefits to Pennsylvanians when clearly the PJM’s intention is to bring power to northern New Jersey to address capacity issues?There is not one mention of benefits to Pennsylvanians here.

From a Department of Energy filing:

The principal proposal to solve the Northern New Jersey overloads is to build a 500 kV transmission line from the Susquehanna station in northeastern Pennsylvania to the Roseland station in northern New Jersey. The expected in-service date is June, 2012.

and from another Department of Energy filing here:

A third project included in the most recent RTEP is an approximately 130 mile
500 kV circuit from the Susquehanna 500 kV station in northern Pennsylvania to
Lackawana and then eastward to a new Jefferson substation that would be located where
the Branchburg – Ramapo 500 kV circuit and multiple 230 kV and 115 kV circuits
converge. The circuit would then continue to Roseland, in the PSEG system in northern
New Jersey (“Susquehanna-Roseland Line”). The Susquehanna-Roseland Line will
resolve numerous violations of reliability criteria in northern New Jersey, starting in
2013.

and finally from the same filing:

PJM’s most recent RTEP analysis also indicates that overloads will occur in
Northern New Jersey, as shown in Appendix 2. Specifically, the Hosensack – Elroy 500
kV circuit will become overloaded by 2014, as will multiple 230 kV lines feeding into the
densely populated northern New Jersey area. The principal proposal to solve the
Northern New Jersey overloads is to build a 500 kV transmission line from the
Susquehanna station in northeastern Pennsylvania to the Roseland station in northern
New Jersey. The in-service date for this project is still under evaluation.

On the PJM site, there are also recorded statements from PJM Manager of Transmission Planning Paul McGlynn, where he states:

We’re looking at two significant lines; one line in northern — goes from northern Pennsylvania over into northern New Jersey, the Susquehanna-Roseland line, about 130 mile long line. The expected cost of that line is over 900 million dollars. It’s addressing — it’s addressing overloads that we are seeing in northern New Jersey. Our planning studies for 2012 are 8 showing, you know, dozens, you know, over two dozen lines, two 30 10 KV lines that would be severely overloaded. So that line is to address those needs.

Posted on July 2, 2008 in Community, Concerns by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

AOL has a great video posted of folks in a rural western PA town whose lifestyle is being threatened by the same 500 kV power lines that are possibly coming through our area.  I’ve mentioned them before – StoptheTowers.org.  This video is a fantastic testament to the committment they have for the land and their families.

Continuing the Power Struggle – StoptheTowers.org

As you will see in the video, there are many similarities between us and them.  The meeting that they show in the video could have very well have been our meeting.  You can see the same passion and fire in those people.

Posted on July 1, 2008 in Concerns, Environment, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Ah!  Nature disrupted!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnEaq4BeFH0

Posted on June 27, 2008 in Concerns, Government, PPL by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

I just came across this and wanted to pass it along. PPL is attempting to use eminent domain in Bucks County. Remember when I asked the question if they would be pursuing eminent domain if the PUC turned down their initial proposal?

If you follow this link,

http://www.puc.state.pa.us/General/Hearings.aspx?ShowDetail=06/02/2008

You will see 5 hearing scheduled for the week of June 2nd, 2008 against individual land owners. Here’s what each one says…

For a finding and determination that the service to be furnished by the applicant through its proposed exercise of the Power of Eminent Domain to acquire a right-of-way and easement for the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed Coopersburg #1 and #2 138/69 kV Tap Reconstruction over and across the lands of (landowner’s name) in (township name), Bucks County is necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety to the public.

Scary, no?

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