The National Park Service issued a draft of their Environmental Impact Statement for the PSEG & PPL-owned Susquehanna Roseland transmission project on Friday. The EIS recommends the power company preferred route through the parks, despite it being the most environmentally-damaging and expensive of the presented routes.
Dave Slaperud of citizens' opposition group Stop the Lines said, "Unfortunately, our system is rigged," in a recent article in the New Jersey Herald.
The "rigging" of the Environmental Impact Statement, which is required to be completed under the National Environmental Policy Act, has been public knowledge for nearly a year now. Dirty deals between the power companies and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar were outed by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility last fall:
"PEER contends that Secretary Salazar, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and other Interior officials have met repeatedly with project proponents, PPL Electric Utilities of Allentown, Pennsylvania (PPL) and Public Service Electric and Gas Company of Newark, New Jersey (PSE&G), and have already approved a route for a new power line that will cut across the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The power line will be strung on 200 foot-tall towers that will permanently impair the scenic values of one of the most beautiful areas in the crowded Northeastern Corridor of the United States.
As part of the deal, the draft EIS will NOT consider at least two alternatives that would lessen impacts to the park’s scenery (#6 and #7) but will include at least one alternative (#2B) demanded by the companies that is untenable from a safety perspective. 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.
"This is not ‘fast track,’ it is a short circuit in which political appointees are putting their thumbs on the scale to skew the review process,” Ruch added. “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 public comment has even begun.”
The National Park Service's mission is:
To preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
But instead of stewarding irreplaceable resources owned by the citizens of the United States, the NPS has sold our resources to corporations, and they violated NEPA by guaranteeing the corporations their preferred outcome of the EIS before it was completed.
The entire NPS isn't rotten to the core, however. Where do you think PEER got their information? What is wrong with the NPS is that those who don't bow and scrape and sell their soul to dirty political appointees like Salazar have their lives made miserable and their careers ruined. So, if you have ethics and a spine, a career with the NPS is not for you.
So, you're probably asking, "how does all this make my electric bill go up?" Because in exchange for permission to lay waste to the Delaware Water Gap, PSEG & PPL promised $60M of "mitigation." The "mitigation" will consist of purchase of inferior land adjacent to the current park borders in order to expand the park... and PSEG & PPL are using YOUR money to do it! That's right, PSEG & PPL will be collecting the cost of their "mitigation" from all electric consumers in the PJM region, plus 12.9% interest annually, through their FERC-approved formula rates. However, whether the cost of "mitigation" is a prudent expense is probably fairly debatable.
So, there ya go... you will pay the bribes two corporations made in order to destroy a park that belonged to you in the first place.
Disgusting. Shame on all of you.