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November 10, 2009

Power line opponents make last-ditch online pitch

By MEGHAN VAN DYK
STAFF WRITER

Critics who object to PSE&G's plan to build a 45-mile powerline from Susquehanna, Pa. to Roseland rolled out an online video in a last effort before the project will be pitched to the Board of Public Utilities.

Byram Councilman Scott Byram said the aim of the video, filmed by the Coalition of Municipalities against the lines in collaboration with the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Sierra Club's New Jersey Chapter, and Stop The Lines, is to re-energize the public and get out the groups' message that the powerline project conflicts with the state's energy master plan and should be stopped.

"We believe this project is based on greed and not need," Olson says in the video, set on the leafy easement where the existing 84-foot tall 230-kilovolt power lines cut through his township. "The need for this project could be mitigated by using such things as demand-side management, energy conservation and energy efficiency, as well as locally generated renewables."

The evidentiary hearings on the project begin Monday at 10 a.m. at the BPU's Newark office, 2 Gateway Center. The hearings are open to the public, but no public testimony will be taken.

PSE&G officials have said the project is needed to ensure reliable service and to meet future power demands. Line towers would double in height to 190 feet and lines would be upgraded to hold 500,000 kilovolts.

The Coalition of Municipalities has commissioned consultants to refute PSE&G's assertions.

"Energy usage in this area has been on the decline for the past couple of years," Andover Township Committeeman Mike Lensak says in the video. "In other parts of the country, applications that haven't proven their need for more energy have been denied. It's possible for us to deny this from going through."

The video and sample letters residents can send to legislators are located on the Coalition's YouTube channel, "Oppose the Towers!," as well as on its Web site, www.opposethetowers.com. The Coalition of Municipalities against the lines includes Andover Township, Byram Township, Fredon Township, East Hanover, Parsippany, Montville Township and Hardwick Township.

Watch the video

http://www.youtube.com/v/aXPz7m5Eutw&border=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1">http://www.youtube.com/v/aXPz7m5Eutw&border=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="349">