Dark line shows proposed right-of-way for a major utility transmission line proposed to cross park lands in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Map courtesy of the National Park Service.

A power line project in Roseland, N.J., has attracted some critics.

A coalition of national, regional and local conservation groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed suit in federal court on Oct. 15, challenging the approval by the National Park Service (NPS) of a supersized transmission line planned by Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) that would originate in Roseland and cut through three national parks in western New Jersey, The Progress, Bernardsville, N.J., reported.

According to the National Park Service website, the project was approved by the park service on Oct. 2.

The suit against the NPS challenges the agency’s approval and environmental review of the 500-kilovolt (kV) Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

The line would originate in the existing PSE&G Roseland Switch Station on Eisenhower Avenue. According to the PSE&G website, the switch station will be expanded but entirely within its existing grounds.

The line would run northwest along an existing right-of-way. It is adjacent to Overlook Avenue and runs roughly parallel to Eagle Rock Avenue before continuing northwest.

Overall, Earthjustice believes that the park service is not sufficiently considering the environmental impact that the line will have.

“This decision by the park service will permanently scar the landscape and degrades the visitor experience in some of the most visited national parks in the country,” said Hannah Chang, attorney with the public interest environmental law firm Earthjustice, representing the conservation groups in the lawsuit along with the New Jersey based non-profit Eastern Environmental Law Center. “And what’s worse, the damage from constructing and operating this 500-kV electric transmission line on nearly 200-foot-tall towers through these treasured places is unnecessary. Serious questions have been raised about the need for this project.”

Several conservation groups have questioned the need for the transmission line in the still undecided appeal of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ approval of the project.

The new transmission line to be built by PSE&G in New Jersey and Pennsylvania Power and Light Electric Utilities (PPL) in Pennsylvania will largely follow the route of an existing 85-year-old power line. Environmentalists are concerned because the new towers will rise more than twice as high as the existing towers and would include clearing substantially more trees and the construction of access roads through the Parks.

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line is scheduled to be completed in 2015.