By SETH AUGENSTEINsaugenstein@njherald.com
— The final decision on the Susquehanna-Roseland power line across the
northwest corner of the state will be recircuited to Thursday, as the
state digs itself out of the remnants of the nor’easter today.
Board of Public Utilities decision on the 45-mile, $750 million project
had been scheduled for today, culminating years of planning, months of
testimony, and several scheduling delays. But the winter weather had
other plans, with forecasts estimating as much as a foot of snow in
some parts of the state.
The meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m., with the public portion of the meeting opening at 2 p.m.
most recent BPU meeting on the Susquehanna-Roseland application was
held last Thursday at the board’s Newark offices. Opponents of the line
peppered the foremost power witness, Steven Herling of grid operator
PJM Interconnection, with questions about the need for the line —
especially in light of two line withdrawals in Virginia and Maryland
due to decreased demand. However, Herling stood pat on his previous
findings of necessity for the line, even though he had no new
statistical evidence on which to base it.
“We will do the analysis — but we already know what the results are going to be,” Herling testified.
LeMense, the executive director of the Eastern Environmental Law
Clinic, said Herling’s assurances were presumptuous, considering the
length of the process thus far.
“This is an awful lot of process for ‘Trust me,’” LeMense said.
the meeting, however, the controversy and paperwork continued. Lawyers
for the interveners, including environmental groups and seven
municipalities, attempted to reach back into the record to see what
PSE&G attorneys had done with initial drafts of letters from
Herling to the BPU reinforcing the need for the line.
and PJM say the 500-kilovolt project is required to prevent brownouts
and other federally-enforced violations on the line, beginning as early
as 2012. The 100-mile stretch of the line in Pennsylvania was approved
last month by that state’s Public Utilities Commission.
finished compiling evidence in November, but reopened the record after
two similar lines were withdrawn in Virginia and Maryland in the last
However, Herling and PJM maintain that the line is based on a completely different set of needs.
National Park Service has scheduled a set of three public hearings next
week on the portion of the line which would cross the parkland around
the Delaware River.
If approved, the upgrade would as much as double the height and power of the existing lines, built in the 1920s.