Vegetation clearing and access road construction is set to begin on Tuesday for the Susquehanna-Roseland power project after a federal judge on Friday dismissed objections
from environmentalists who claim that the massive infrastructure upgrade will damage sensitive areas in the Delaware Water Gap.
Other segments of the line already are under construction in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. When completed, the 500,00-volt transmission line, being built by two utility companies, will run from PPL's service territory in Berwick, Pa to PSE&G’s substation in Roseland, NJ.
PSE&G says it expects the line to be in service by June, 2015.
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Regional grid operator PJM Interconnection has argued that the project is necessary because the existing power line cannot keep up with projected electricity demands in
heavily urbanized areas of northern New Jersey and New York.
Environmental groups, like the New Jersey Sierra Club, argue that energy use has not been increasing and that PJM cancelled two similar transmission expansion projects--the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway and the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline.
NJ Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said that his organization will explore possible grounds for an appeal.
While a handful of local officials in the affected areas objected, there has been no state-level governmental opposition to the upgrade project either in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. And, despite the opposition of environmentalists, the project was fast-tracked in 2010 by the Obama administration.
Related environmental news stories:
Controversial PSE&G upgrade: Work starts in Delaware Water Gap area Tuesday
Court throws out environmental challenge to PPL power line
Power line project cleared in courts
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