And a representative of PPL has now joined his counterpart at PSE&G in admitting that the $30M "mitigation package" will become the responsibility of the 60 million ratepayers in the PJM region. However, the only beneficiary of the "mitigation" and the power line itself will be PPL and PSE&G, who will earn a 12.93% profit on the cost of the project every year for the 50 - 70 life of the line. Both individuals quoted in the article aren't quite accurate though. The PPL guy claims that the return on equity is part of the state ratemaking process, but this line is under FERC jurisdiction. The Sierra Club representative only calculates one year's interest in his $4M profit estimate. Profit is calculated on the remaining balance EVERY year, and the companies also receive a percentage of their investment back every year as well through depreciation.
PPL claims that they haven't "identified precise locations" of the land they propose to purchase for their "mitigation package" yet. So, PPL, what happens when the owners don't want to sell? Do you offer them more money, or do you use your state-granted eminent domain powers to take the land from a private individual and give it to the NPS or other conservation group? I don't see anyone addressing this question yet.
But, this editorial in the Pocono Record is by far the most revealing. The editor (who drives me NUTS with his poor writing skills -- please, let one of your copy editors edit your editorials!) has had at least one sit-down with Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John Donahue. Donahue told the editor, "We've been working with the power company for some time for a mitigation package and are reaching the point where they might come to the public and offer something huge for what they want."
The "mitigation package" is all about Donahue's personal vision for the park. His vision includes linking the park with state parks and turning Rt. 209 into a "parkway." Maybe someone should tell Donahue the story of the Lenape Indians of Manhattan who entered into what they thought of as a land-sharing pact with the European settlers. It didn't work out so well for the Indians.