Don Miles, Chair, Sierra Club PA Chapter Transmission Committee
Last week the US District Court issued a decision allowing PPL Electric Utilities Corporation to begin construction of the Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line (“S-R Line”)through three national park areas -- the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The Pennsylvania Sierra Club is extremely disappointed that the court did not halt the PPL’s construction of the high-voltage Susquehanna Roseland power line through these natural areas.
“This is a crushing blow for one of the nation’s most treasured natural places”, Transmission Committee Chair Don Miles said. “This construction will forever change the landscape of this spectacular vista that welcomes five million visitors annually, including those traveling along the Appalachian Trail. It is a loss for nature, for Pennsylvanians and for all who treasure this special place.”
The Sierra Club and nine other environmental groups was seeking an injunction to halt PPL’s construction of the 500kv, 200-ft towers, which was to begin the first week of September. The US District Court of D.C. not only ruled against the injunction but also against the basis for the appeal, clearing the way for PPL to begin construction.
The 145-mile, high-voltage power line will cut through the heart of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Delaware "Wild & Scenic" River, and the Appalachian Trail. Although the power line will use parts of existing rights of way, the construction will expand these corridors, impacting wildlife, tourism and recreation.
The environmental groups filed the appeal, arguing that the power line would cause significant harm to the natural integrity of the park and disfigure the region. The groups asserted that the "no-build" option was not properly considered by the National Parks Service.