To mitigate for unavoidable impacts of the power line on federal lands, as required by the National Park Service, PSE&G and PPL Electric Utilities will contribute to a fund administered by a nonprofit group. As directed by the National Park Service, the money will be used to purchase or preserve land for public use, compensate for wetlands impacts, and fund cultural and historic preservation activities.
The size of the fund, at least $56 million, was determined by the National Park Service assessment of project impacts. Mitigation is a routine part of the environmental impact review process when there are impacts on federal lands from power lines or other infrastructure improvements needed by society. Mitigation typically is required by federal agencies for impacts that cannot be avoided.
The Susquehanna- Roseland project does not require significant widening of the existing right of way on federal land: The current utility corridor through the National Park Service has cleared widths of up to 200 feet. The only additional right of way and clearing needed by the utilities is 50 additional feet of right of way for seven-tenths of a mile in Pennsylvania where the existing corridor is 100 feet wide. Several miles of the companies' easements are wider than the 200 feet needed for the project, and the excess easement areas will be transferred to the NPS as part of the mitigation plan.
The Obama administration selected the Susquehanna- Roseland line in October 2011 for fast-track treatment by the administration's Rapid Response Team for Transmission. The team was formed to streamline the review and permitting of transmission line projects to increase reliability and save consumers money by modernizing the grid, while ensuring careful federal review. The Susquehanna- Roseland project will create about 2,000 jobs during its 2 1/2-year construction period.The two utilities have many of the permits required for construction along the route, and have pending applications with federal, state and local authorities to obtain the balance of the permits that are needed. The National Park Service has said it intends to issue the required federal construction permits soon.
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