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 24, 2010 in Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Based on the National Parks Service meeting, it is clear that we need to take action if we are going to protect Lehigh and Moore township.
 
Please contact Arlen Specter and Charlie Dent to express your opinions regarding the National Parks Service Environmental Impact Statement and the permit.  Use the same talking points you used in the National Park Service comment.
 
We’re looking for a recurring telephone and email campaign where we follow up for answers.  The campaign would start February 26th, with a follow up call on March 3rd.
 
Remind them that the National Parks Service closes for comments on March 5th, so time is critical.  
 
Arlen Specter – US Senator
711 Hart Building
Washington , DC 20510
Main: 202-224-4254
 
Lehigh Valley Office
504 W. Hamilton
Suite 3814, Federal Building
Allentown, PA 18101
Main: 610-434-1444
Fax: 610-434-1844
http://specter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
 
Charlie Dent – US Congressman
DC Office
1009 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: 202-225-6411
fax: 202-226-0778
 
Lehigh Valley Office
701 West Broad Street
Suite 200
Bethlehem, PA 18018
phone: 610-861-9734 toll-free: 866-861-2624
fax: 610-861-9308
https://dent.house.gov/?p=ContactForm

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 17, 2010 in Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Did you know that under the NIETC act, the Federal government can take land using eminent domain in 52 out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania, but that does NOT apply to Federal and State lands, such as National Parks?

Its interesting that perhaps the National Parks Service could possibly deny the permit and the Federal government could not come in and take the land like it could take yours.

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.