|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||March 29, 2012|
|Contact:||Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association P: 202.454.3332; C: 202.384.8762|
One of America's Most Visited National Park Sites Threatened by Massive Power Lines
Obama Administration proposes construction of controversial power lines through three national parks
Statement by NPCA Senior Vice President for Policy Ron Tipton
“Today’s announcement by the Obama Administration of the National Park Service’s (NPS) “preferred alternative” to allow massive 200-foot towers and power lines across the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic River, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is extraordinarily disappointing.”
“The public utilities, PSE&G and PPL, have stated that they would purchase sensitive lands surrounding the parks as mitigation for the damage from massive power lines through the mid-section of one of the 10 most visited national park sites in the country. This development can only harm visitors’ experience to the parks, many of whom travel from nearby densely populated urban areas seeking inspiring views and outstanding recreational opportunities, and puts economic benefits that the parks provide to local communities at risk as well.
“It is unfortunate that the Obama Administration is not considering other proven alternative technologies such as superconductor pipe lines or advanced cable technologies to avoid the impairment of park resources. Investing in alternative technologies could potentially improve park viewsheds. Since PSE&G and PPL are willing to spend millions of dollars on surrounding lands to mitigate the impacts that their power lines will cause through three national parks, it makes no sense for the NPS and the utility companies to not consider mitigating the direct impact itself. We believe today’s proposal would clearly violate the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, which mandates the agency to “conserve the scenery” from impairment.
“America’s national parks are treasured places and we need to keep them that way. If the NPS allows 200 foot power lines to degrade these three park sites, what parks will be next? We encourage the Administration to avoid America’s national parks when siting transmission lines – this will ensure future generations can enjoy national parks as visitors do today. Meeting energy needs is an important priority, but not at the expense of our national parks.”