Susquehanna-Roseland Fight Continues as Enviros Claim Court Favored Utility
State Appellate Court decides to uphold BPU decision to allow power line project.
As construction continues on the 500-kilovolt Susquehanna-Roseland power line, a group of environmentalists expressed disappointment in a state Appellate Court's decision Monday to allow the project to move forward.
According to court documents, the environmental groups challenged the Board of Public Utility's April 2010 approval of Public Service Energy and Gas' (PSE&G) Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line project, for which a line will be constructed to run through 45 miles of the state starting in Berwick, Pa., and ending in Roseland.
Construction activities have already begun in parts of Montville, Kinnelon, Jefferson, Hopatcong, Boonton and Rockaway. PSE&G has said the new line will improve service reliability.
The Appellate Court explained the BPU's position that the project was necessary and ultimately chose to support that decision.
"We find sufficient credible evidence in the record to support the Board's finding that the project was prompted by, and justified by, a genuine effort to avoid violations of reliability standards, as opposed to a pretext to find expanded markets for coal-generated electricity," the court ruled, according to the documents.
But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, one of the groups fighting against the project, said the power line is "unnecessary" and that the court did not consider evidence that supports the claim.
"Today the Appellate Court rubber-stamped the bad BPU decision on the Susquehanna-Roseland line. We are disappointed by the court decision but not necessarily surprised," he said.
"Unfortunately, this was a victory for dirty coal and air pollution over green jobs and clean air. We will continue to fight against this unnecessary power line at the federal level."
Named in the lawsuit, in addition to the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, are Environment New Jersey, the New Jersey Environmental Federation and Stop the Lines, an initiative formed by a group of concerned citizens seeking to prevent the project from coming to fruition.
Tittel said the court should not have considered the reliability of the interstate transmission system but more so the reliability of the local grid.
"We are going to be spending ratepayer money on this upgrade instead of spending the money to upgrade local distribution systems to prevent blackouts every time there is a major weather event," a press release from the Sierra Club said.
Kate Millsaps, conservation program coordinator for the New Jersey Sierra Club, added that the project goes against what most New Jerseyians really want in terms of power.
“This project is simply about lining the pockets of PSEG while ignoring other tools that will make the grid more reliable at a fraction of the cost. The people of New Jersey want clean energy solutions, not the expansion of an archaic line that will cost billions to bring in dirty coal-fired power,” she said.
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