National Park Service Sets Hearings on Powerline through Delaware Water Gap and Appalachian Trail

Date: 
02/12/2010
Source: 
Trail Conference


The National Park Service (NPS) will be holding public hearings Feb. 16, 17, and 18 (Tues., Wed., and Thurs.) on the impact a massive powerline construction proposal will have on the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area,  the Appalachian National Scenice Trail, and the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River. The (NPS) will then prepare an Environmental Impact Statement covering potential environmental, historical, and recreational impacts of the project.

The Trail Conference opposes this powerline plan because of the devastating impact it would have on trails, open space, and views across New Jersey.

These are federal park lands and the NPS needs to hear how people and the land will be impacted. THIS IS NOT JUST A NEW JERSEY ISSUE!

On February 11, New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities approved PSE&G's proposed expansion of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line from the Delaware Water Gap through the Jersey Highlands.The company proposes to add a 500Kv line to the existing 230Kv line and double the height of the existing towers to 175 feet.

Learn more about the issue and keep up with latest developments on our website:http://www.nynjtc.org/issue/pseg-powerline-proposal


Ways to Comment
Come to a meeting and show the NPS the face of people who care about the Water Gap and the AT.

When: February 16, 2010 from 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Where: Fernwood Hotel, U.S. Route 209 North, Bushkill, Pennsylvania

When: February 17, 2010 from 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Where: Camp Jefferson, 81 Weldon Road, Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey

When: February 18, 2010 from 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Where: Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, 199 Smith Road, Parsippany, New Jersey

Can't make it to a meeting? Click here to email your comments to the National Park Service. The deadline for comments is March 5, 2010.
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=220&projectID=25147&documentId=31664


Talking Points

* The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was created to give people open space, protect water quality in the Delaware River, and provide recreation space. This is a National Park, not PSE&G's corporate playground.
* The New Jersey section of the Appalachian Trail is one of the most historic and scenic. For more than 100 years people have hiked this portion of the trail. Construction will impact the trail directly and will ruin the views from one of the best portions of the trail.
* The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line is only one of many transmission lines being proposed around the country to move coal power to the best paying markets. The National Park Service should consider the cumulative impact of these lines - including air quality, climate change.
* Federal lands on the East Coast are rare. Congressional legislation was required to create the National Recreation Area, we should respect the few federally protected lands we have.
* PSE&Gs right of way was created when the country was just being electrified, transmission lines are no longer cutting edge technology. Investing in renewable energy distributed around New Jersey would be a safer and cleaner alternative.
* The impacts of constructing the line go beyond the Right of Way, the creation of new roads will affect a huge area in the Highlands Region.
* The population of New Jersey has boomed, there aren't that many places left for natural recreation and to see wildlife.
* PSE&G cannot just purchase land somewhere else to make up for what they are ruining in the Water Gap. There is no way to mitigate.
* The impacts of building this line include more water and air pollution. Mercury from the Midwestern states enters the air and settles in the surface water in the Highlands.
* The views seen from the Delaware Water Gap and the Appalachian Trail are priceless. PSE&G should not be allowed to ruin the view shed for private gain. This will impact the view shed in the Highlands as well as the Upper Delaware River, which has been designated a wild and scenic river.

 


The Process
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a study that is required for projects by federal agencies that will significantly affect the quality of the environment. It requires federal agencies to examine the alternatives that would limit environmental impact.

There are three steps for an EIS:
- First the agency, in this case the National Parks Service, does scoping. They take public comment on what issues they should look into.
- Second, they write a draft of the EIS. After the draft is written it becomes open to public comment.
- Third, they publish their EIS with a determination of an approved alternative, which could be the project as proposed by PSE&G, an alternative proposal, or a "no build" alternative.