Judge OKs Power Line Across Water Gap Area
A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit aimed at preventing the start of construction of the Susquehanna-Roseland power line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, The Express Times, Easton, Pa., reported.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts threw out the lawsuit Friday (Aug. 30) filed by a coalition of 10 environmental groups. They wanted construction halted while federal courts rule on another power line-related lawsuit. Construction is scheduled to start today (Sept. 3) through, PPL Electric Utilities spokesman Paul Wirth previously said.
In a prepared statement, Allentown-based PPL called the decision “the right decision for millions of people throughout the mid-Atlantic region who will have more reliable electric service because of this project.”
Plans call for removing the existing 85-year-old power line and erecting new poles and wires across four miles of the park.
“We will move forward with construction as planned,” said Stephanie Raymond, PPL Electric Utilities vice president of transmission.
A message left with Earthjustice attorney Hannah Chang was not immediately returned.
Chang previously said she filed the lawsuit because it doesn’t make sense for PPL to start work on the line before the other lawsuit is addressed. The environmental groups sued the U.S. Department of the Interior for issuing the power line permit through national park lands.
It’s not clear whether the environmental groups have any recourse to stop the construction at this point.
PPL says the project is needed to keep the regional electric grids reliable and to prevent overloads of other existing power lines. The line is expected to be in service by June 2015.
Chang represents the National Parks Conservation Association, 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, the Sierra Club and Stop the Lines.