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 22, 2008 in Community, Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »

Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone state.  If you look at it from a geographic perspective, this nomenclature becomes apparent.  Pennsylvania is the gateway to the Northeast from the rest of the country.  We are a heavily traveled state and will soon be utilized en masse to deliver electricity to the Northeast not only from our state but from every state west of Pennsylvania.  52 out of our 67 counties in Pennsylvania have been deemed legitimate transmission targets for the NIETC (National Interest Electric Corridors), which would turn our great state from “Penn’s Woods” into “Penn’s Towers.” 

Under NIETC (or if the utility already owns Right of Way through your area), any utility can seize your land for power lines while you continue to live on it or farm it.  Under current law you continue to pay taxes on this land and you receive no compensation from any of the extra costs you have to pay to farm around the tower or for any loss in the value of your property that is now “blighted” real estate. Yet the utility companies continue to reap the benefits year after year.

It gets worse since New Jersey has forced Pennsylvania’s hand with legislation outlawing new coal burning and nuclear plants, knowing that Pennsylvania, built on coal, would never pass such a law.  If you look at PJM’s long term plans, you will see new coal and nuclear plants being planned for central Pennsylvania.  We do not need this extra power but our neighbors do. No one can dispute that as a nation we all need a safe and efficient source of power and that we have to work together but it is the role and responsibility of our government to ensure, through fiscal incentives and regulation, that the goal is accomplished in a fair and just manner.

We are simply proposing that utilities pay the citizens of Pennsylvania proper compensation since our land is so valuable to the National Interest. We would like your help in sponsoring and promoting Pennsylvania legislation that will ensure more efficient use of existing infrastructure by removing the current economic incentive to put in a new line rather than to upgrade an existing line or invest in technology.

Proposed Pennsylvania legislation: Compensation to be paid for a right of way or for the real estate blight caused by an electricity transmission line: The compensation for the use of a right of way or for the blight caused by a electricity transmission line shall be an annual use fee payment based on a percentage of the value generated by the transmission line.

Such a payment would ensure visibility of the true value derived from right of way and ensure fair compensation is paid to those who have to endure the blight of a transmission line in “the national interest”. The response of the power generation and transmission companies would be to adjust their pricing accordingly, lowering the price in the producing or transmission area and increasing the price in the area of the consumption making local production such as residential or commercial solar more attractive.

Finally, in a world of rapidly advancing technology we can expect that the unit price of Photovoltaic cells (PV) will continue to decrease as their efficiency increases just as we have seen with computer memory. This emerging trend will increasingly become apparent over the next few years and it is highly possible that before the new gigantic towers designed to transmit power from one side of the county to another are completed, they will be obsolete. Consideration should therefore be given to the restitution of rights of way and the removal of the power transmission lines other than through the use of the Superfund.

Developing legislation requires considerable work in identifying, educating and persuading state Senators, Representatives and ultimately the Governor. Big corporations like PPL do this by hiring lobbyists but we have decided that we will be better served by continuing to work through volunteers like you and me. We need your help to get this issue before our legislators.

Posted on September 18, 2008 in Community, Environment, Government by Matthew SekolNo Comments »
We are looking for people to go to the PA Energy Fest this weekend, but specifically Friday at 5:30PM where Senator Casey will be talking about NIETC.  For those that are not familiar with NIETC, check here for more information.
 
 
This Fri., Sat. & Sun. – Sept. 19, 20, & 21, 2008
 
Featured Keynote Speaker on Main Stage: U.S. Senator Bob Casey
“The Federally Mandated Electrical Transmission Corridor Planned to Go Through PA by Eminent Domain”
National Interest Electric Corridors: What the New Federal Law for Designating and Siting Power Lines Means for Pennsylvanians
The 2005 Energy Policy Act created a broad new authority for the federal government to take the electric transmission line siting process away from the state in certain situations. The new law is now being put into effect with 75% of the state swept into the new federal power and transmission line projects proposed in southwest and northeast Pennsylvania.

Senator Casey will discuss what it means for Pennsylvania property owners and communities, its impact on Pennsylvania’s renewable power and global warming initiatives, and what we can do about it.

UPDATE: Casey will not be speaking, but we still encourage you to go!  Holly from the Sierra Club will be speaking about NIETC and needs our support!

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.

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

The official line selection has been made!  PPL and PSE&G have chosen to go with Route B.  Some are reporting getting letters as early as this morning outlining the selection and I’ve heard from people affected by Route A on the New Jersey side that they are hearing it is Route B as well.
 
We will still be meeting tomorrow and highly encourage you to attend!  The process is not over.
 
Consider this:
 
– My deed states the line is called Alburtis-Bossards. not Susquehanna-Roseland.  This means that just because PPL chooses not to use it today doesn’t mean this will not come back up again!
– PPL and PSE&G could decide that Route C is a good backup option and we need to stay focused and organized, with the ability to move quickly.
– PPL will be holding additional meetings in the affected townships along Route B.  It is possible that participation in these meetings will change their filing with the PUC.
 
We’ve invited many media outlets and need to remind PPL that Route C is NEVER a good option!  Hope to see you there!

Update:

Here is a copy of an email received today by many of you.  Thanks!

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (Aug. 5, 2008) — After an exhaustive study process that
included 10 public input workshops throughout the region and numerous
discussions with residents, elected officials and others, PPL Electric
Utilities has chosen Route B as the route for the Susquehanna-Roseland
power line project in Pennsylvania.

The selected route runs north from Berwick, Pa., past Wilkes-Barre and
Scranton, then east to Hawley and southeast to Bushkill where it crosses
the Delaware River. It follows existing power lines for almost its
entire distance.

The New Jersey portion of the power line, from the river to Roseland,
N.J., will be built by Public Service Electric & Gas Co.

“Two of our main goals were to minimize the impact of this project on
residents near the line, and on the environment,” said David E.
Schleicher, vice president-Transmission. “We are convinced that this is
the best route to accomplish those goals while providing very real
reliability benefits for electric customers in eastern Pennsylvania and
throughout the region.”

The 500-kilovolt power line is needed to handle increasing customer
demand for electricity that could otherwise lead to overloads and even
blackouts on the regional power grid. Because overloads can have
widespread regional effects, the line will benefit all electric
customers in the region, regardless of where they live or which electric
company serves their needs, Schleicher said.

He pointed out that the regional blackout of 2003 – which started with
power line failures in Ohio – spread as far as New York City, leaving
nearly 50 million people without electricity. “The regional electricity
transmission system is only as strong as its weakest link,” Schleicher
said.

The PJM Interconnection, which oversees reliability planning for the
regional power grid, identified the need for the new line and assigned
PPL Electric Utilities to build the Pennsylvania portion.

PJM determined that if this upgrade is not made by May 2012, there is
the potential for overloads on other power lines. The danger is greatest
during periods when demand is highest – the hottest summer days and the
coldest winter nights.

Because this type of power line provides regional benefits, its cost is
shared by all electric customers in PJM, a region of 51 million people
encompassing 13 states and the District of Columbia.

“We understand that new power lines – even if they are built where
existing lines now stand – can cause concern for nearby residents,”
Schleicher said. “We will work very hard with individual property owners
to answer their questions and address their concerns about this project
as we move forward.”

PPL Electric Utilities evaluated three possible routes for the line. Two
of the possible routes went north through Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wayne and
Pike counties. The third possible route went south through Schuylkill,
Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The decision to choose Route B was made after careful consideration of
impacts along all three routes, and after considering public input. PPL
Electric Utilities received extensive comments from interested people
along all three routes, including comments made in person at public
input workshops, by phone using a special toll-free number, and by
e-mail from the project’s Web site, www.pplreliablepower.com.

The company will ask the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to
approve the route in an application that is expected to be filed in the
fourth quarter of 2008. The PUC review process, which also includes
input from the public, could take as long as a year. The line is
scheduled to be in service by May 2012.

Construction of the line will provide an economic boost to the region of
at least $100 million over three years, creating 165 to 330 construction
jobs during that period, according to an economic impact study conducted
by the Penn State Workforce Education and Development Initiative Team.

“This project will help ensure that PPL Electric Utilities can continue
its long-standing record of providing excellent and reliable electric
service to our customers in Pennsylvania, while supporting continued
electric service reliability for all electric customers across the
region,” Schleicher said.

PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation that
provides electricity delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in
Pennsylvania, has consistently ranked among the best companies for
customer service in the United States. More information is available at
www.pplelectric.com.

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