Their comment letter goes on for pages and pages and refers to Exhibits that are nowhere to be found. If anyone knows where Exhibit 9 is, let me know, that's the one that supposedly contains the "methodology" for their madness.
The letter contains some of the most outrageous lies I've ever heard, and just in case the NPS doesn't believe them, the power companies unleash a couple of veiled threats. Nice. And I haven't even read the whole thing yet.
Anyhow, here's what's available on the power company's proffered bribe:
- The price is now somewhere between $30 - 40M, but the NPS can just fill in the amount with whatever they think is reasonable. You know, name their price for the $ale of the parks. Price doesn't matter to PSE&G and PPL, they're using YOUR money for this bribe and collecting interest on the amount they spend. The more they spend, the more they make!
- The power companies will set up an "endowment" with your money, the Middle Delaware Mitigation Fund. The "endowment" is supposed to be administered by "a not-for-profit organization with demonstrated expertise in land and resource conservation and successful collaboration with the Department of the Interior." The "endowment" would be used by the Administrator for the purposes of preserving, restoring and enhancing Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Middle Delaware Wild & Scenic River segment, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail within the Delaware River basin, including reasonable costs associated with administration of the Fund. In other words, this "administrator" is going to be able to take a big chunk of this endowment for salaries and expenses. Now, who in the heck is going to monitor that for fraud? "The Administrator would commit Endowment funds solely to projects or activities reviewed and recommended by the Secretary of the Interior, acting directly or through a designee, following appropriate consultation with representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey, and Delaware River basin-oriented conservation organizations and recreational interests." Oh, I see, Ken Salazar, the person with the loose morals that engineered this bribe, is going to oversee the morals of the "not-for-profit organization" who manages the "endowment." Ever heard that phrase, "the blind leading the blind"?
- 50% of the bribe would be paid when all permits are issued and land clearing begins, and the other 50% would be paid when construction is complete and the line goes into service.
- So, whose land are they planning to steal? "We have focused on parcels previously identified by land management agencies and conservation groups as important potential additions to the DEWA-area parks and refuges-- lands with natural values that would be of great value to the public. We have identified lands potentially for sale (because everything's FOR $ALE), most* already on the market in some fashion, that offer great potential to benefit the public." *most = qualifying weasel word -- this means that only a very small portion of this land is actually "on the market in some fashion" (another qualifying mush phrase).
- So, who is this "administrator"? "The Applicants have engaged and provided funds to a nationally respected* land conservation organization to begin acquiring interests in private properties of high value to the Department of the Interior’s conservation mission in the area around DEWA, MDSR, APPA and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge." *Not anymore, as soon as this crooked bribe is made public, this will be the LEAST RESPECTED land conservation organization in the nation... and that's why the power companies aren't giving out the name of this organization that's already taken your money to start acquiring land for a project and bribe that is completely undecided... or is it?
- The details of the land grab? Well, that's "proprietary," don't ya know... "The Applicants and their consultants have collected a great deal of very specific information about lands that are for sale (in fee or pursuant to conservation easement) in the DEWA area. Most of the information is confidential and proprietary; all of it is sensitive. The potential to acquire the land for conservation purposes likely would be frustrated if the information were to be publicized. (here's your cue, project opponents -- go fetch and publicize, publicize, publicize -- hope your neighbor grapevine in PA & NJ works as well as ours in WV, VA & MD does) To meet the requirements of current owners, a substantial portion of the information has been obtained with the understanding that the Applicants would keep the information confidential. Based on our outreach to conservation partners and other investigations and analyses, we have identified, at this time, an overall universe of 650 parcels or interests in land that merit further consideration for use as compensatory mitigation including 425 tracts (39,500 acres) in Pennsylvania and 225 tracts (20,500 acres) in New Jersey. Of these, there is dialogue with landowners for the following parcels/acreage: 150 tracts (13,500 acres) in Pennsylvania, and 10 tracts (500 acres) in New Jersey. Of the parcels under dialogue at this time the following parcels/acreage are either under option, option pending or active negotiation: 12 tracts (10,700 acres) in Pennsylvania ($34,000,000 fmv est.), and 5 tracts (410 acres) ($2,600,000 fmv est.) in New Jersey. (that's $36.6M already, with only 17 of 650 tracts of land acquired.)
- I saved the best laugh for last: "The Applicants are prepared to commit funds in an amount that will fully recognize and show respect for the public value of the resources potentially affected by the Project." These guys have absolutely no respect for themselves, much less any respect for the public. What a joke! And they "will ensure that there can be no basis for any reasonable party to conclude that the benefit to the resources at issue is anything other than substantially greater than the impacts of the Project." What part of THE PARK IS NOT FOR SALE AT ANY PRICE don't they get?