PPL is coming through, baby. It's laying down a new power line from Berwick, PA to Roseland, NJ, cutting a 200' wide path over a 100 mile distance in PA. There's little we can do to stop this Giant Energizer Bunny, either. Let's say our state regulators in the PUC, by some miracle, actually dare to say no. PPL can simply run to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and get eminent domain powers.
PPL tells us this is for our own good because it will prevent blackouts and power overloads. I don't know about you, but I haven't noticed any blackouts here in the Lehigh Valley. Not even a brownout. In fact, Pennsylvania is actually an exporter of electricity.
Since who's the real beneficiary?
Big Coal, baby. The Black Gods. The same bastards who killed most of my relatives in the coal regions. The lucky ones died in mine collapses. Many more suffered for years with black lung disease. It has killed thousands, devastating the environment in the process, making much of the coal regions look like a barren wasteland. But Big Coal is back, baby, hotter and darker than ever. Each American now consumes twenty pounds of coal every day, just to keep those air conditioners and toasters hummin'.
After all, it's patriotic. Big Coal will free us from Big Oil and those dirty Arabs. PPL will be expanding electricity generation at its coal-fired Washingtonville plant near Berwick. And guess what? It just dumped $600 million into the site for new scrubbers and a drywall factory.
It's not all bad news. After all, we do get to pick one of three routes for this 500 KV line. PPL even created a web page so we can play engineer and NIMBYs can argue with each other. But there's no real choice. What this power company is doing is just like giving a prison inmate three choices on a brand of Vaseline. No matter what route is chosen, we're going to get screwed.
Attorney Wil Burns, who represents the Sierra Club, believes these power lines are a mistake for the following reasons: (1) wasted energy (when electricity is shipped over long distances, it loses ten per cent of its power); (2) security (those dirty Arabs will slice the lines and force us to buy Big Oil); (3) higher electricity costs (who do you think will be paying for those power lines?); and (4) air pollution (coal-fired generators contribute three-fifths of all sulfur dioxide, one-third of all mercury, and one-fifth of all nitrogen oxide emissions in the United States).
I have another concern. Although energy officials deny that high voltage lines present a health hazard, the reports I've seen about childhood leukemia and cancer are shocking. I'd like to hear from someone who has no financial interest in this matter.
A grassroots movement of citizens from Lehigh and Moore Township is mobilized, and has already established a blog, DroptheLines, to oppose PPL's greedy scheme "to maximize profits by taking advantage of a poor decision by the Department of Energy that favors the profit of a large company over the well-being of Pennsylvania’s residents and favors coal and nuclear power over clean alternatives."
Tonight, between 5 and 8 PM, PPL's latest money-making attempt will be presented at Northampton Community Center, 1601 Laubach Ave., Northampton, PA 18067.