by Jonathan Madden
Northern New Jersey- PSE&G recently has proposed a new Transmission Line Project traveling across northern parts of New Jersey to New York, putting many environmentalists and members of the National Parks Service on the defensive considering the project's negative ramifications for the surrounding environment.
The new transmission line project proposed by the power company, entitled the Susquehannah-Roseland Project, would travel from Pennsylvania on a 146 mile route that cuts through parts of New Jersey including Warren, Sussex, Morris, Roseland, and Essex counties. The proposed 750 million dollar power line project would consist of carrying about 500,000 volts of electricity through a string of 500 and 250 kilovolt towers stretching through New Jersey some of which are Federal Parks.
As a result of the project stretching through parts of federal parks such as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the project is now subject to the National Park Service's review. PSE&G including Donald McCloskey, director of environmental policy, have addressed the concern for the environment.
"We are taking concerns seriously, working with municipal officials and other leaders to construct the line in the safest, most environmentally responsible way." McCloskey said.
PSE&G has vowed to work with the National Park Service in order to ensure the project is conducted safely and responsibly while doing less than minimal harm to the surrounding environment.
Despite PSE&G claims that the project doing no harm to the environment, many environmental groups such as the Delaware Riverkeeper Network remain opposed. Many fear that PSE&G has not looked into the potential harmful impacts the power line project may have. An alert by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network claimed "The proposed power lines include towers twice as tall as the tree line. You will be able to see these eyesores from miles away on the river, on the trail, from the swimming hole, in the car, from your hotel room -- from everywhere." According to an article in the Star Ledger, other environmentalists are concerned about other potential ramifications such as scarring the environment, destroying scenic views, hurt local property values, contribute to illness, and cause considerable damage to one of the state's most natural areas.
"I'm not one to be considered an environmentalist, not in the least, but when I read about this in the paper, I became very angry and upset. One of the reasons why I chose to live here is because of the area’s beauty and surroundings. When I'm driving around town or eating cereal in my kitchen before work in the morning, the last thing I want to see is a huge power lines towering over the tree line," said Frank Carr, a lifelong resident of Warren County.
Yet the proposed issue might be out of the hands of local environmentalists and groups as the proposed project has already approved by the NJ Board of Utilities. Environmentalists and supporters who are unhappy about the project now look to the National Park Service as their last resort.
Going up against a power company juggernaut such as PSE&G is proving to be not an easy task, more so when there are large benefits to enhancing New Jersey's power grid. As environmentalists and supporters now turn to the National Park Service to put a cap or make considerable edits to the project's current plan, the project's future still remains unclear.