Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Enviros concede legal battle against PA-to-NJ power line

susquehanna-roseland-powerlinejpg- jERRY mCcREA - Star-ledger 
                                                                                                                                  Star-Ledger photo

A five-year battle that pit a group of environmental organizations against the two largest public utilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is over and the utilities have won.

The New Jersey Herald's Bruce A. Scruton reports today:

"A consortium of environmental groups has decided not to appeal a federal judge’s decision to let stand federal permits to allow construction of the half-million-watt Susquehanna-Roseland electric transmission lines across the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

We've decided not to appeal,” said Hannah Chang, lead attorney on the case for Earth Justice, the group of lawyers hired to have the National Park Service permits overturned.
"Chang said that after a thorough review of the decision, “We've concluded that it’s highly unlikely we will get a three-judge panel of the Appellate Court to reverse in a case where the standard of review is extremely deferential to the agency.”
Federal court judge Richard Roberts effectively ended the fight on August 30 when he dismissed a challenge brought by the nine environmental groups who had argued that the park service did not follow its own environmental study in making the final decision to allow the work to go on.
Roberts said the law gives agencies great latitude in making their decisions and said the fact that the Interior Department through then-Secretary Kenneth Salazar, demanded a set amount (more than $60 million) for a mitigation funds did not require a thorough accounting of what mitigation work would be done or require more public comment
Environmental groups that filed the lawsuit included the Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Rock the Earth, Sierra Club and Stop the Lines.
The 145-mile-long Susquehanna-Roseland line is being built by PPL in Pennsylvania and Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey to deliver electricity produced by PPL plants to the PSE&G service area.
You can read the entire story here

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