Thursday, August 19, 2010

An Environmental Call To Arms

Although it may seem difficult to believe in this era of suburban sprawl, there are large swaths of lovely and sometimes pristine open space a mere 75 miles or so from New York City and Philadelphia. This includes the Highlands in northwest New Jersey, the upper Delaware River bisecting New Jersey and Delaware, which includes the massive Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, and smaller Cherry Valley Recreation area in the Poconos region of northeastern Pennsylvania.

A feel-good story, right? Yes, but these swaths are now all under attack by petrochemical and utility companies.

The bad news is that these companies hold most of the cards. The good news is that environmental activists and nature groups are fighting back in the largest regional offensive since the
Tocks Island Dam debacle of the early 1970s when local environmental groups with an assist from the Sierra Club blocked construction of a dam that would have created a 37-mile-long, 140-foot deep lake extending from just north of the Water Gap nearly to Port Jervis, New York.

Of particular concern to the DF&C and I is a plan to build a 150-mile long network of 200-foot high high-voltage power towers from Berwick, Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River to Roseland in northern New Jersey. One proposed route would include the wildlife preserve that our mountain retreat overlooks.

The power line is not merely an abomination. It is unnecessary, especially at a time when New Jersey has mandated a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2020 and the power line would encourage
continued development of highly polluting coal generation.

Opposition, I am happy to say, is ferocious.

Painting by William Hobbs

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