As reported last month, the NPS is expected to bend over and approve destruction of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in exchange for $30M of new park land.
Read a good article about the situation here:
"Thousands of acres identified as priorities by conservation groups would be preserved at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, PPL and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. said in a press release."
The proposal, however, was met with derision from some environmentalists. The New Jersey Sierra Club accused the utilities of trying "to buy silence from environmental groups and others that should be opposing this line."
"You cannot mitigate for the destruction of a National Park," the organization said in a press release. "This project would ruin the scenic beauty, breathtaking vistas, and critical resources of our national parks" and "allow for the production of more coal-fired energy, creating more coal pollution that will impact people's health while they are using the parks."
The Sierra Club also noted the utilities' ratepayers would ultimately pay for any mitigation, since utilities fold their expenses into rates. Additionally, utilities are entitled under federal rules to a 12 percent profit on transmission line expenditures.
"The utilities cannot make up for his kind of destruction by buying lands in other places," Jeff Tittel, the New Jersey Sierra Club director said. "This is nothing more than blood money."
Because the Susquehanna Roseland Project is within the PJM regional transmission zone and is a 500kV project, this means that every one of the 60 million electric consumers within PJM's 13 state region will pay a portion of the cost of the transmission project. Even if you're a PJM grid customer in Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois or North Carolina, or any other PJM state far removed from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you will still pay for a portion of PSE&G and PPL's payoff of National Park Service officials.
This $30M of new park land will be paid for by you over the next 50 - 70 years, and PSE&G and PPL will make a 12.9% profit on the purchase every year, courtesy of federal transmission incentives granted to the project's owners by FERC. Here's how it works: The power companies will purchase the land and claim it's a "regulatory expense" (a cost necessary to obtain regulatory approval for the project). The cost of the land will be placed into the companies' transmission rate base account for the project, which you will pay down by reimbursing them for their cost of the project in your monthly electric bill over the expected 50 - 70 year life of the line. Just like a new car, the $30M value of the land-bribe will depreciate a little bit each year. You will reimburse the power companies for that yearly amount of depreciation, plus 12.9% interest on the remaining value of the land-bribe. So, let's say that in the first year, the balance of the land purchase is $30M and the depreciation rate is 5%. You will pay them $1.5M, and the value of the land will fall to $28.5M, but you will also pay them 12.9% of $30M that year - $3.87M. The amount electric consumers will pay for the power companies "mitigation package" will total $5.37M in the first year alone. The second year will again reduce the value of the land by 5%, and add in a 12.9% return for the power companies on the remaining value. The depreciation rate I'm using is only hypothetical, of course, but the profits for PSE&G and PPL are real. What you can depend on is that this "mitigation package" won't cost the corporations a thing and will, in fact, make them a huge profit.
The end result here is that YOU will pay for the "mitigation" of damage to YOUR park and the power companies causing the damage and making a profit selling electricity over the line will get off scott free! The power companies behind the transmission line claim that the line will save electric consumers millions of dollars in "congestion costs," but that savings is being whittled away by deals like this and is not taking into account the billions of dollars electric consumers will pay for the line over its lifetime.
Are you angry enough to do something about this yet? Good, we're going to make this easy! Send your comments about this rip-off of consumers and citizens (who are the ultimate owners of our national parks) to the NPS through this online form, and tell them that you do not want to pay the cost of PSE&G and PPL's "mitigation package" bribe or have your national park assets squandered in the name of corporate greed!
Do it now! Comment period closes at midnight on January 31, 2012. Please share this one with your friends and link on Facebook and other social media sites!