Twelve environmental groups have filed suit in federal court seeking to reverse a decision by the National Park Service, which gave the green light to expanding a transmission line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The 500 kilovolt Susquehanna-Roseland line will increase capacity for the East Coast, which utilities say is needed to prevent blackouts like the one experienced in 2003.
Environmentalists have fought the project for years, saying it will damage ecosystems, encourage the use of coal fired power plants and result in higher electricity prices. Hannah Chang, with the environmental law firm Earthjustice, represents the 12 groups that filed suit.
“This decision by the Park Service will permanently scar the landscape and degrade the visitor experience in some of the most visited national parks in the country,” said Chang in a release.
The $1.2 billion expansion will take much of the same route as the current line, stretching 145 miles from Berwick, Pa. to Roseland, NJ. But environmentalists object to the increased height of the towers, which will rise to almost 200 feet and obscure views.