Case Number # 2172, 2313
Earthjustice represented clean energy advocates in asking the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to reconsider a decision it made approving construction of a high-voltage electrical transmission line that would run from Berwick, Pennsylvania to Roseland, New Jersey (case #2172). The line was approved on the faulty assumption that it would be needed to keep New Jersey’s lights on, but recent developments show this to be incorrect. Appeal of the Board’s decision is pending before the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. Earthjustice also has sought to reopen the original proceeding before the Board.
In April 2010, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the 45-mile New Jersey portion of the line to prevent brownouts and blackouts projected to occur beginning in 2012. Since the Board’s decision, completion of the line has been delayed from 2012 to 2015, and PSE&G, the company that would build the line, has been forced to admit that interim fixes can solve any anticipated reliability issues. In addition, PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator that originally determined the transmission line was needed, recently revised its load forecast down significantly. In light of these downward revisions, PJM has acknowledged that it will revisit the alleged need for the PATH project, a similar transmission line proposed in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland.
New transmission lines that encourage use of outdated, highly-polluting coal-fired power plants undermine the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program that promises to reduce electric sector carbon emissions from Maine to Maryland. RGGI is already boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy development in the states that have agreed to participate in the program. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are not part of the RGGI and facilitating import of dirty electricity from these states to RGGI states, such as New Jersey, undercuts environmental gains achieved through RGGI.
Earthjustice joined the Eastern Environmental Law Center to represent clean energy advocates.
In October 2012, a coalition of national, regional and local conservation groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed suit in federal court challenging the approval by the National Park Service of a supersized transmission line that would cut through three popular national parks (case #2313). The suit against the NPS challenges the agency’s approval and environmental review of the 500-kilovolt (kV) Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Despite NPS’s governing mandate to protect the National Park System and to prevent impairment to park resources, the NPS has authorized a project that the agency acknowledges will have serious and enduring impacts on the parks.
The 2012 lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice and Eastern Environmental Law Center on behalf of 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, National Parks Conservation Association, Rock the Earth, Sierra Club, and Stop the Lines.