National Park Service seeking input on Susquehanna-Roseland 500 kV power lines

The following information is being forwarded from the UULMNJ Environmental Justice Task Force. It has particular implications for our northern New Jersey congregations.  Comments are being accepted until Jan. 31st.

This month the National Park Service will be accepting public input regarding the Susquehanna to Roseland 500 kV Transmission Line Right-of-Way and Special Use Permit.  The Green Sanctuary Committee of the UU Fellowship of Sussex County (Newton) has been opposing this expansion proposal for the past two years because of the harm it will do to the environment of northwest New Jersey and to our treasured parklands.  They have joined forces with the NJ Sierra Club and an organization called Save the Park.  Attached is a sample letter,  which their Green Sanctuary Committee has recently sent to NPS, urging the National Park Service not to allow the Susquehanna-Roseland power line expansion project to be built on National Park land.  The National Park Service is accepting public comments through January 31.

People who want to make individual comments should do so on the NPS website.  They do not need to go into all the detail in the sample letter.  The main point of comments should be to urge the NPS to choose the “no build” option.  The web address to post comments is http://parkplanning.nps.gov/dewa.

Any group wanting to submit a formal letter should mail it as a hard copy to the Denver NPS address in the press release pasted below and in our attached letter.  According to the NPS, “public comment is extremely important.”  There will also be three public meetings in late January at which the public can make comments.  Each will have an “open house” from 2:30-4:30, followed by a public hearing from 6-9:00pm.  The locations and dates are listed near the end of the NPS press release regarding this topic.

The next step, after the public comment period ends is for the NPS to analyze all the public comments.  This information will be used to select a “preferred alternative” and finalize its “EIS” (Environmental Impact Statement), which is anticipated to be released to the public in the fall of 2012.  If the NPS chooses “no build,” the power companies will be denied the right to follow the path of the existing towers that go through park land, and the power line expansion project will at least be delayed.  The longer the delay, the better the chance the powers that be will come to realize this is an unnecessary, environmentally damaging, and overly expensive “upgrade.”

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