We met at the National Park Service headquarters and received an overview of the project and how NPS is responding (with a 2-year study). Park Superintendant Donohue put it in perspective when he described a multitude of utility and resource extraction projects that threaten the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Delaware River itself.
The VIP’s in the group included township officials from Fredon Township, NJ and Lehman Township, PA, as well as a Monroe County Commissioner, and a congressional aide. There were representatives from the Appalachian Mountain Club (my new employer), Sierra Club (PA & NJ), New Jersey Conservation Foundation, National Parks Foundation, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network (apologies to those I missed).
The National Canoe Safety Patrol – Lower Delaware Chapter provided escort along with a handful of NPS employees.
We paddled the 10 mile stretch of the river on a hot sunny day through Walpack Bend (perfect for a swim break) down to the very spot where the proposed transmission line is proposed to cut through and destroy the character of one of the prettiest sections of the entire river. That was the lunch stop and we lingered there for awhile to contemplate how one of the nation’s busiest National Parks could ever be considered for such a project. Maybe that’s just the nature of the likes of PP&L and PSE&G.
Utility companies make money for their shareholders generating electricity for an insatiable public; electricity that is being generated by dirty coal-fired power plants using coal carved out of the landscape by what is known as ‘mountaintop removal coal mining.’ Is this project really needed?
The Susquehanna-Roseland Transmission line represents an antiquated, twentieth century approach and the project should be deep-sixed. But if it is to be built it can’t be allowed to destroy the public commons. This park belongs to the people, not to PP&L and PSE&G.