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Montville Resident Wants PSE&G to Bury Lines

New effort launched before final deadline for environmental impact plan revisions.

Allison Para, a lifelong resident of with a background in sustainable development, has begun circulating a petition for PSE&G to redesign their to instead bury the lines underground for a four-mile stretch through Montville. She has the support of children in her neighborhood and may also reach out to the school district for help.

“This just launched two weeks ago,” Para said. “Right now we have five kids involved, and I have had some other interest. The petition is getting word going. I spoke to ( Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried) at the Arbor Day presentation and he said if I needed any help, he would help me. I hope to take advantage of that.”

Para is the former chairperson of Emerging Green Builders of New Jersey, a chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. She was a sustainable design coordinator for an architectural firm in New York City and has five LEED-certified projects in her portfolio. She is completing her bachelor's of science degree at College of Saint Elizabeth, and has chosen this project as the topic of her senior thesis.

Para said that when the plan to stop the lines failed and , she decided to take action. The power towers cut through her Montville neighborhood where children play and behind , where she was once a student. Para is concerned about potential health effects from the lines and said that lines are underground throughout Europe and parts of the United States, including San Francisco, so why not here?

“We’re standing under an electromagnetic field, which radiates from these utility towers,” Para said. "These towers are dinosaurs. The fact that they are going to be doubling the voltage — they need to take away the towers and dig and bury the lines underneath, where they can."

Before starting the project, Para checked with the Montville Environmental Commission and was told that studies had been done showing that the lines could not be buried underground. She asked to see the studies and was referred to Environmental Committee Chairman Lawrence Kornreich, PhD.

On July 15, 2008, Montville Township Committee had a special meeting with PSE&G about the proposed line. Then-Committeeman Tim Braden asked PSE&G if they had considered burying the lines, but John Ribardo, the PSE&G project manager, said "it is just too difficult. It is not practical" and that burying the lines is infrequently done in America.

At the same meeting, Committeeman Jim Sandham asked about potential health effects from the same line, but the PSE&G representatives said many of the health studies did not take actual magnetic field measurements into account. Para believes PSE&G is sweeping health-related information under the rug.

Para said she has found data linking radioactive fields to cancer and children’s leukemia, mostly affecting young and older generations. While it is not known if there are clusters in New Jersey, Para said it is worthy of exploration.

While getting her certificate in Sustainable Design from Boston Architectural College, she recalled reading information from Rocky Mountain Institute about the emittance of radiation through utility lines and how it can be hazardous to the health of the environment. Para said the deadline for revising PSE&G's Environmental Impact Plan is September. Her project is in its preliminary stage. Students are circulating her petition and she expects more people to get on board. 

The goal of her senior thesis is to change an organization’s practices into sustainable development, and she wants to change PSE&G.

“There are a lot of organizations that say they have a sustainable program, when it’s just basically what they call ‘green washing’ and they’re really not thinking about sustainable development,” Para said.  

“In this case, it would be to bury the utility lines to lessen the radiation exposure. You’re sustaining the environment.”

Para said people point to issues regarding high maintenance, such as having to dig up the line if there are problems, but said there is always risk in everything that you do. Lightning could strike a tower, which is an even higher risk because of the radiation, she said. Underground, the radiation is reduced because it’s covered.

Andie April 30, 2012 at 09:07 PM
O yeah? Cite the actual studies or statiatics. Anecdotal comments aren't hard and true facts. If you don't want to live by the utility line, you are free to move. But the fact is, we need our electric. And my in-laws never had brain cancer and neither have their neighbors. And their under the lines vegetable garden is doing great too.
Professional parent April 30, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Fact is: exposure to electomagnetic radiation is reduced greatly when you bury the lines. Fact is: your real estate value improves when you live over the lines rather than under them. Bury the Lines
John Kristensen April 30, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Kudos to Allison Para for doing what needs to be done. She is absolutely correct regarding the conclusive links between overhead high voltage power line EMFs and many health problems including leukemia, many other forms of cancer, Alzheimer's, heart problems, miscarriage, birth defects, migraines, behavioral disorders, male sexual dysfunction, and the list goes on. Burying high voltage lines eliminates the negative health, safety, environmental, visual, property value, agriculture, and tourism impacts of overhead lines. When capital, maintenance and transmission loss costs are combined over the life of a line, underground lines are cheaper than overhead lines. See Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans at www.RETA.ca for the facts - don't believe the transmission companies.
Joe G May 01, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Burying the lines will not stop EMF last I check in my Electrical Engineer book. You will just fry all the earth worms. If you don't like the lines... don't buy a house near the lines.
Jim Muhaw May 01, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Allison, You better hurry fast to get PSEG to change direction since the project here in Montville is proposed to start this September. I am afraid there is little one can do at this point.
Allison Para May 01, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Hi Jim and everyone, Thanks for your posts; some very motivating and some .. funny. All submissions to the Environmental Impact Plan, which can revise the line design, need to be submitted by September 2012. Yes, the plan must move at great speed and will. Research and development is under way and the feedback and momentum is great. There will always be regressive pessimism, its to be expected. So lets keep the progressive intellect and future based dialogue going. The junior-high children and parents I have on board now will be stretching across the Montville Twp. neighborhoods to petition. An online petition will be up in 10 days so please check back and pass on. Sustainable Development is the way of the future. If we don't demand it, we will continue to live in our current regressive state. Thanks again! - Allison Para, LEED AP
Maxim Sapozhnikov May 01, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Fact is: Susquehanna-Roseland line does not improve electric power supply in New Jersey, it just sells Pennsylvanian power in New York City. We in New Jersey are stuck with paying the rate increase to pay for the line.
Maxim Sapozhnikov May 01, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Joe, you might want to request a refund from the university that issued your engineering degree. When an electric line is buried, it is encased in a steel pipe. Not only it blocks the allegedly-harmful EMF, it also decreases transmission losses and breakage chance.
Mom Tlm May 01, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I don't know who you are, but you sure sound like you work for the Electric Company and are surely not a resident of Montville. Why would anyone ever think that putting lines with such extreme power over our SCHOOL of children is an acceptable action!! You must be in sane. We are even warned about cell phones to our heads, let alone the amount of power and electromagnetism that will extend from these monsters above Lazar. Guess you don't have children either!! Ever look underneath lines of much lesser power---everything is dead. Further, and very important--we all have power and the studies have shown that power level needs have been REDUCING over the years. . It's a money move for the power companies. . What else is new.
Mom Tlm May 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM
We are not talking just about houses. There is a SCHOOL under these lines. Plus, people already have homes nearby, that now future buyers won't want anything to do with . . Not right. Money making scheme.
Mom Tlm May 01, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Thank you Allison. We will be looking for the petition. . Hopefully a list of children signing will have some impact. .
Truscha Quatrone May 01, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The BOE has already signed a deal with PSE&G allowing for the power lines. http://montville.patch.com/articles/boe-approves-1-5m-pse-g-power-line-settlement
Maxim Sapozhnikov May 01, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Truscha, I have a few choice words to say about BoE selling out children's health while enriching the teachers but this is not about the route. PSE&G can keep their right of way. The petition just asks them to bury the line underground, instead of hanging it over our heads.
David May 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Just Google earthed the route, Everyone is upset about the school. What about the police department the town built right under the lines on route 202? Maybe the town should have gotten a couple million for that while they were settling with PSE&G
Allison Para May 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Mr. Kristensen, Thank you for your valid support! There is a good reason why Canada is one of the few countries surviving through these hard economic times. I was quite impressed with Vancouver's Sustainable Development initiative when I visited several years ago. I have viewed the RETA.ca site as well - great work! I am working on the facts. Please see research post below from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kind regards, Allison Para
Allison Para May 02, 2012 at 02:16 AM
MIT, one of the United States leading, strategic architectural and engineering schools have online research regarding facts about electromagnetic induction. See: http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/physics/electromagnetism/inductance/
Kris July 23, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Stop overhead power line project. If you can build it underground then do it otherwise cancell this project. We do not want to go backwards. Must be underground. Overhead lines are harmful to health, environment and looks. Kris from Montville.
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 06:49 PM
http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
PSEG Petition to bury lines: http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp Thank You for your support! Allison Para, LEED AP
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Thanks again. Your organizations work has been very valuable to my research and motivation. Please see: http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp Thanks again! Allison
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Hi Jim, I am meeting w/PSEG tomorrow. I hope you will support me and sign the following petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp Thanks again! AP
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Hi Mom Tim, I have over 100 hard-copy signatures and I am now circulating this online petition. http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp I hope you will give me your support - Thank you! Allison
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The police department is included in my plan to bury the lines. Please see my online petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp I hope you will give me your support - Thank you! Allison
Allison Para July 23, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Thank you for your comments Kris! I hope you will support me through signing the following online petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/pseg-bury-utility-lines-through-montville-twsp Sincerely, Allison Para
Jessica Noomnen August 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Wow you sure have a lot of time on your hands. Do you still work for an architectural firm and have time for this volunterring project/senior thesis? What is your expertise on this subject, did you finish your degree at the accredited colleges in this article or even pass the LEED? How about applying yourself to a career in the environmental field that will pay you for your efforts?
James P. Page August 17, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I have no issue signing this petition, but the Liberal Items behind it almost made me wish I didn't sign it seeing there really is more of a pollitical agenda behind this instead of concern of the general public at large....
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Icecream Man: There is no political agenda behind this lady's actions. I print the materials that she sends to the representatives on all levels of the political pyramid, and I can confirm that she works with both Democrats and Republicans.
Allison Para August 23, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Hi Jessica, I took a 5 week hiatus from school, work to work on this. Have sent records such as the one below from Yale U. to assembly people and congressman. I am in my last stage of school and have been advised to go into environmental law/litigation. One step at a time. See this testimony from L.Bell on facts of EMF's and childhood leukemia, "In sum, based on the specific data cited in this testimony, operation of the proposed power lines would be expected to significantly increase the likelihood of childhood leukemia in groups of children exposed to the elevated EMF associated with these power lines." The testimony: http://www.ct.gov/csc/lib/csc/jewishintspftest.pdf Best, Allison Para
Towaco Friend April 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Allison, I am a relatively new resident to Montville and the sites this last week with these monstrous poles have me sickened. Is there still hope for burying these lines? Even if it is tax payers chipping in to preserve our Montville / Towaco Community, I would be interesed in assisting. I don't think many people understand the overall value depreciation in the homes we are in store for. This plan isnt just going to impact the homes nearby; it will impact Montville township. It is in our best interest as preservers of one of the last good towns in the area to fight for what is right. Power lines underground adn following the Rockaway river where possible. Thank you
Allison Para April 17, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Hello Towaco, Something can always be done, but it takes a lot more effort than from one individual. I have studies, stats, and more from Yale University citing the horrific dangers of large EMF fields: 98.8 causability of childhood leukemia and cancers are a result of dwellings (homes, schools, business) within close proximity of these lines. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen directed me to contact BPU with my research, etc, I reached out to those who supported my cause to help out because of the commitment to time. I would appreciate someone to truly take over because it is such a mess what PSEG is getting away with. Its called Corporate Social Responsibility, to which they have none. Let's keep Montville, Towaco and Pine Brook green and gold. - AP

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