Power line from Pa. to N.J. advances despite environmental group objections

A new transmission line that would carry power from plants in Pennsylvania to New Jersey has moved one step closer to completion. The National Park Service has approved construction along an existing route traversing national parkland portions of the Delaware Water Gap and the Appalachian Trail.

The upgraded line was mandated by PJM, the authority managing the congested regional grid, to prevent the kind of rolling blackouts that darkened the Northeast in 2003. The Susquehanna-Roseland line could draw from the Berwick nuclear plant, hydro, wind and coal facilities in Pennsylvania.

“By adding this new power line, it will significantly improve electrical service reliability for millions of homes and businesses in this region,” said Paul Wirth, spokesman for project partner PPL Utilities, calling the National Park Service report the final significant hurdle.

PPL’s partner on the New Jersey side is PSE&G.

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The New Jersey Sierra Club, which is attempting to fight placement of the 145-mile line, would rather see any new line go around the park, said Kate Millsaps.

“You wouldn’t do this to Yellowstone and you wouldn’t do this to Yosemite; and the Delaware Water Gap [National Recreation Area] is our Yellowstone and our Yosemite and this power line should not be placed there,” she said

Millsaps says the transmission project would sustain the region’s coal habit, a fuel the Sierra Club strongly opposes.

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