Susquehanna to Roseland 500kV Electric Transmission Line
In 2009, Pennsylvania Power and Light Electric Utilities (PPL) and Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) requested a construction and right-of-way (ROW) permit from the National Park Service (NPS) for the expansion of an existing electric transmission line that crosses NPS lands within Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The project is based on direction for electric transmission expansion provided by the Regional Transmission Operator, PJM Interconnection, which oversees the overall movement of wholesale electricity between many electric utilities throughout a 13 state region. The proposed project, the Susquehanna (Berwick, PA) to Roseland (NJ) line, proposes to expand upon an existing ROW which contains a single 230,000 volt (230kV) electric transmission line by replacing the existing towers with new, taller tower structures, updating the 230kV to one that will carry 500kV and adding an additional 500,000 volt (500kV) transmission line. The applicant's request requires widening the existing ROW and constructing new access roads. The expanded line and new towers will impact three NPS park units: the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA), the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (APPA).
Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations, the NPS has prepared a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the proposal.
Public scoping for the project was conducted between January and March of 2010. A preliminary alternatives newsletter was then developed describing the range of alternatives being considered by the NPS. Three public meetings were held in August 2010 in the local area to present information to the public and receive public input on the preliminary alternatives. A report was prepared summarizing comments received. Maps and other information that were presented at the public meetings are also posted.
The park completed the Draft EIS and released it to the public for a 60-day review and comment in November 2011. Public meetings were held in January 2012. The NPS identified Alternative 2 as the preferred alternative, after reviewing public and agency comments received during comment period on the Draft EIS.
The NPS moved forward in the development of the Final EIS and continued consultations with agencies and consulting parties. On July 17, 2012 the NPS published a draft Wetland and Floodplain Statement of Finding for 30-day public review and comment. On August 31, 2012 a Notice of Availability for the Final EIS was published in the Federal Register. The Final EIS was made available to the public at this time.
The Final EIS describes and analyzes the potential impact of the proposal, the no action alternative, and 4 additional action alternatives for the transmission line. The Final EIS analyzes the impacts of the alternatives in detail for geologic resources, floodplains, wetlands, vegetation, landscape connectivity, wildlife habitat and wildlife, special status species, rare and unique communities, archeological resources, historic structures, cultural landscapes, socioeconomics, infrastructure, access and circulation, visitor use and experience, visual resources, soundscapes, wild and scenic rivers, park operations, and health and safety.
On October 1, 2012 the Regional Director signed the Record of Decision, granting the applicant's request for right-of-way and special use permits to construct the Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission Line (Alternative 2) on the existing alignment as it crosses the three parks.
The documents referenced above may be accessed by clicking on the "Document List" link to the left.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, telephone 570-426-2491
National Park Service
Denver Service Center - Planning Division
Attn: Morgan Elmer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287