A spokeswoman for Sutley, Sahar Wali, said the Susquehanna-Roseland line would "use various sources for power, including wind turbines in Pennsylvania. This line will play a significant role in bolstering reliability resiliency of the grid to keep power flowing."
A proposed 145-mile power line from central Pennsylvania to Morris County was one of seven “priority projects” chosen on Wednesday for accelerated permit reviews, an initiative the White House said would create jobs and boost clean energy.
But a New Jersey environmentalist battling the project said he felt “blindsided” by the Obama administration’s action.
Jeff Tittel, of the Sierra Club, said the Susquehanna-Roseland power line would allow Public Service Electric & Gas, which gets most of its electricity from nuclear reactors and natural gas, to tap more “dirty” coal-fired power in Pennsylvania.
“We see this as undermining clean energy,” Tittel said.
PSE&G said it is seeking to build the 500-kilovolt line with Pennsylvania-based PPL Electric Utilities to make electricity in the state more reliable.
The company praised the project’s selection by the newly created Rapid Response Team for Transmission, which brings together nine federal agencies whose approvals could be needed for long-distance power projects.
A PSE&G spokeswoman, Karen Johnson, said coal is not the primary fuel used in plants currently projected to connect to the grid. She also said that new environmental regulations could put more coal-fired generators out of service, which would increase the state’s reliance on natural gas and renewable energy.
2,000 new jobs
The project is slated to create 2,000 jobs and could be completed in 2015 if approvals are granted next year, according to a White House news release.
The Susquehanna-Roseland project was the only one in the East chosen by the rapid response team, which includes the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy.
“Building a smarter electric grid will create thousands of American jobs and accelerate the growth of domestic clean energy industries,” said Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality.
A spokeswoman for Sutley, Sahar Wali, said the Susquehanna-Roseland line would “use various sources for power, including wind turbines in Pennsylvania. This line will play a significant role in bolstering reliability resiliency of the grid to keep power flowing.”
The proposed line would follow the route of an existing one but require higher towers in many parts. It has been approved by New Jersey and Pennsylvania regulators but needs environmental approval from the National Park Service because it would cross the Appalachian Trail and protected areas along the Delaware River.
The Park Service has suggested alternative routes in New Jersey, but PSE&G is arguing the alternatives are either too expensive, are not feasible or would have a greater impact on residents.
Since the Park Service is part of the Interior Department, Tittel speculated that the administration would apply pressure to push aside environmental concerns.
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