June 20, 2009

Not so fast: PSE&G project not approved

To the Editor:

It is June, and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. is acting as if it already has approval to upgrade the S-R powerline. It has offered to buy off the Highlands Council for $18.6 million, offered to buy out a homeowner near a new proposed substation on the Hopatcong/Sparta border for at least $925,000, and is offering to pay for easement modifications and temporary access roads.

Doesn't this all seem a little premature? The state Board of Public Utilities review process has barely begun, and a decision is not planned until December.

Based on what we know, it seems quite clear that the additional 500-Kilovolt line being proposed is not even a necessary part of the project. It will simply carry bulk power directly from Berwick, Pa. to Roseland, not benefiting anyone along the way.

PSE&G would benefit by making a huge profit on that energy, while residents in towns along the route in New Jersey would get towers up to 195 feet high, decreased property values, more noise, and a huge environmental scar.

Further, most, if not all of the power for that line, would be coal-generated power, which is not in the interest of New Jersey. The state's energy master plan has clear goals of reducing energy demand by 20 percent by 2020 and increasing renewable energy sources by a similar amount. The proposed line is a clear threat to those goals.

There are better, simple solutions that do not involve building 195-foot-high towers through our rural areas.