The Powerline has been doing a fine job of analyzing the preposterous "RRTT" scheme announced by the seemingly witless Obama administration yesterday.  The industry-driven Really Ridiculous Tendentious Team smacks of political and governmental malfeasance at the hands of a greedy and arrogant industry.

If the Obama administration had bothered to research any of the propaganda they've been spreading, they would have quickly realized that they're being taken for a ride by a frustrated and dying industry that will stoop to new depths of depravity in order to sink their greedy claws into the American consumer one final time in an attempt to maintain their obsolete business model.

The new transmission line projects selected for the "pilot project" will not make electricity cheaper or more reliable.  The billions of dollars spent on these projects will be recovered from electric consumers, along with "incentive" rates of return of 12% or more, providing their energy conglomerate owners with a steady source of income for decades at a time when demand for electricity is decreasing due to increased efficiency and demand management.  Additional long distance transmission lines will be connected with existing, unmaintained, technologically obsolete, and decrepit transmission infrastructure.  Trading electric power over hundreds of miles as a commodity will make our grid subject to increased risk of massive failure.  The most reliable power source is located as close as possible to where it is used.

The contention that these transmission projects will create "thousands" of jobs is completely disingenuous.  Building high voltage transmission is a highly skilled and technical endeavor undertaken by only a handful of experienced general contractors.  They won't be hiring local workers, but instead subcontracting with other specialized companies who bring their own employees and whose business is following these projects from place to place.  The only "jobs" that will be created would be a by-product of the imported labor temporarily living in cheap motels and eating at your local McDonalds.  Bottom Line:  Temporary jobs for workers from other states whose employment future is already secure.  It's not going to do anything for the local unemployed who don't have experience building high voltage transmission lines.

A statement from PEER quoted today said:

"The Secretary and the Director have unofficially committed to the companies that the NPS will select Alternative 2, the alternative preferred by the companies but which is the most damaging to the resources and scenery of the parks.  In return, the companies have reportedly agreed to pay $60 million for land acquisition and administration inside and near the NRA."

Now the companies who stand to make a huge profit off the Susquehanna Roseland project are resorting to greasing the skids with financial inducements in an attempt to buy off the National Park Service in return for approving their unneeded and destructive project.  However, "the companies" aren't "paying $60 million for land acquisition."  The acquisition of land for the S-R project is a capital expense that will be recovered from electric consumers as part of the project, with 12.8% interest every year for PPL and PSEG, over the expected useful life of the project.  That's right... the power companies are attempting to buy off the NPS with YOUR money! 

PEER is the acronym for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.  Its members are public employees who cannot publicly speak out against corruption for fear of losing their jobs.  A document on PEER's site, written by someone "on the inside" claims:

 "PPL and PSE&G have, understandably, sought to gain approval from NPS officials of the power line route that the companies seek. Towards that end, company representatives and lobbyists have met repeatedly with Secretary Salazar, his deputies former Assistant Secretary Strickland, Deputy Secretary Hayes, NPS Director Jarvis and former Deputy Director Wenk. PEER is attempting to obtain a list of the meeting dates during 2009-11, which would be a first step toward establishing the degree of project proponent’s attempt to influence the decision-making process. There is nothing criminal or improper about meetings by themselves. However, what is suspect is the degree to which high level officials of the DOI and NPS have countermanded and overruled local park managers in manipulating the NEPA review process to reach the outcome demanded by PPL and PSE&G.

For at least three years, the NPS has been developing an environmental impact statement (EIS) to consider the PPL/PSE&G proposal, following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and NEPA rules, adopted by the Council on Environmental Quality. The draft EIS is expected to be announced for public comment before the end of 2011.

But in the last ninety days, under relentless pressure from the companies and their lobbyists, the Department has short-circuited the NEPA processes. NPS Director Jarvis has ordered that the draft EIS include at least one alternative (#2B) demanded by the companies that is untenable from a safety perspective. He also ordered that the draft NOT consider at least two other alternatives that were reasonable and would lessen impacts to the park’s scenery (#6 and 7). The reason behind these orders is that the companies do not want the NEPA process slowed down by consideration of the other alternatives.

More damaging is that the Secretary and the Director have reportedly unofficially committed to the companies that the NPS will select Alternative 2, the alternative demanded by the companies. It is one thing to select an alternative AFTER the conclusion of the NEPA process, but is something else to decide on the alternative BEFORE the process is even announced to the public for comment. Even worse than this procedural violation, the alternative the Secretary and Director have already decided upon, Alternative 2, is one of the worst for the resources and scenery of the parks. To be sure, they have exacted a price from the companies – a reported $60 million for land acquisition and administration inside and within the vicinity of the NRA in exchange for giving the companies the corridor they want.

Alternative 2 is among the worst of the alternatives insofar as impact on the scenery of the parks. Yet, the Interior Department decisions culminated in the late summer of 2011 with verbal assurances to adopt the companies’ alternative by Secretary Salazar and Director Jarvis themselves in a meeting with company officials this past summer.

Unfortunately and despite the clear mandates of the law, these top officials are paving a path so that the Roseland to Susquehanna Overland Transmission Project will impair the core values of Delaware Water Gap and the Appalachian Trail."

The NPS is also being pushed by their own internal throne of political skullduggery, under the influence of corporate lobbyists, to look the other way and approve the project.  Outrageous!

The Obama adminstration is so desperate to push their "jobs" agenda that they've now sold their soul to the Great American Corporate Satan.  Welcome to Hell, America!
 


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