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BUSHKILL, PA - Last week, Pennsylvania Power and Light Electric Utilities (PPL) and Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), two utility companies that are jointly requesting a permit from the National Park Service (NPS) to remove and upgrade an existing 230kV transmission line that crosses three national park units, announced that they plan to submit a mitigation proposal when filing their comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). As part of the environmental review process, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the examination of mitigation for impacts that cannot be avoided, reduced or minimized.
The DEIS, currently open for public review, confirmed that the proposed new line and upgrade of the existing one would cause significant adverse impacts to the natural, scenic, cultural and recreational resources of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River.
The NPS welcomes the utilities' efforts in recognizing the significance and societal values of nationally designated parks, trails and waters. Acquiring conservation lands to enhance national park resources and to create or connect regional wildlife corridors could be a means of mitigating and compensating for impacts from construction, operation, and maintenance of a transmission line upgrade. However, the NPS will not be able to determine whether the lost use and resource impacts are offset until the agency has fully evaluated the mitigation proposal and the public has had a chance to review it. We are pleased that the citizens will have as much information as possible when reviewing the EIS.
Detailed information about the EIS and the project timeline can be found on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/dewa.