In this argument, I do side with the public utilities. This issue at dispute here is the addition of a high voltage power line to the right-of-way trail which runs through a number of State and National Park forests in New Jersey and environs. The National Park Service just closed the public comment period and will now decide whether to allow the installation of the cable in the existing corridor. If the permit is denied, the power companies will still have to upgrade all the towers within 10 years to bring them up to stricter safety standards.
Environmental groups oppose the idea. Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club suggested that if the utility companies need to upgrade the line or replace it, they should move it out of the National Park area.
Where to? Unless the lines can be buried, which I honestly don’t know if it is feasible, it is undesirable to move high voltage lines to populated areas and that leaves the forests as alternative. I hate the view of the power trails in an otherwise beautiful forest which look like the work of some deranged giant armed with a monstrous clipper. But the environmental groups must focus on the big picture if they want to weigh on the future energy needs of New Jersey.
To have Renewable Energy, we need a grid – a larger and denser one. If we build wind power fields offshore, guess what, the cables have to come ashore somewhere. And since it is not a good idea to pass them through the middle of a township, that leaves relatively uninhabited State property along the shore. There may be other options that I can not foresee at this moment but that the cables have to come ashore I am as sure as that my name is Andrea.
And then, to finish this, I must introduce the $ sign: RE – which is not an option – will cost big bucks and anything reasonable that we can do to cut costs to both utilities and the public must be done. We will need RE and we must develop it as economically as possible.
I would like at this point to thank NJ Spotlight. They are an example of excellent journalism.