The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities unanimously denied Jersey Central Power and Light’s ‘Monmouth Reliability Project,’ according to Hazlet Deputy Mayor Sue Kiley who is in Trenton for the BPU meeting.
“This is a great victory for all of the grassroots activists of RAGE (Residents Against Giant Electric), and all of the government officials who fought together through a complex and arduous legal process to produce the right result for Monmouth County residents who live along NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line,” Kiley said.
” RAGE, you have so much of which to be proud! It just goes to show what knowing the issues, banding together and making our collective voices heard can do, said Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger, the former Mayor of Middletown. “Thank you to all who put in their time, effort and money to fight for the communities we all love so much. While Monmouth County has a rich history and great physical beauty, far and away its strength is in its people. Thank you to all who stepped up!
JCP&L had hoped to build a $111 million high voltage power line along the train tracks from Aberdeen to Red Bank. With the poles ranging in height from 135 to 210 feet, the power lines would have run in close proximity to residential neighborhoods and schools from Red Bank to Aberdeen, along a 9.7-mile strip along the NJ Transit rail right-of-way.
Administrative Law Judge Gail Cookson held public hearings on the application at Brookdale Community College and Middletown North High School which were attended by thousands of residents opposed to the project. Cookson ruled against JCP&L last March, stating that the utility did not prove the project was necessary.
“Today’s decision is a vindication for local residents who fought long and hard to oppose these power lines, especially Rachel Kanapka and her committed group Residents Against Giant Electric (RAGE),” said Congressman Chris Smith, who visited many sites along the route of the proposed power lines, met with concerned residents and local officials, and testified on the detrimental effects the power lines would have on the local communities.
“I applaud the Board of Public Utilities for making this decision, and I am pleased to have been able to work hard alongside all the members of RAGE.”
“In addition to Rachel Kanapka, I thank Kin Gee, Lisa Walsh, Judy Musa, Terri Vilardi, and Tara Corcoran-Clark, as well as dozens of state and local elected officials and the hundreds of residents who have reached out to me, for their ceaseless advocacy and untiring passion for this cause,” Smith said.
“For two years, we worked to ensure this just result—to guarantee that neighborhoods from Aberdeen to Red Bank would not be endangered by these monster power lines, and residents sickened by the potential harmful effects of low-voltage radiation emitted by this proposed high-voltage transmission line,” Smith stated.
“The people of Monmouth County have been unified in their opposition to the construction of these giant, obtrusive power transmission lines that it has now been demonstrated that we do not need,” State Senator Declan O’Scanlon said. “I applaud the thousands of people who joined together to create R.A.G.E. (Residents Against Giant Electric) to express their continued opposition over so many years. Theirs was a truly incredible grass-roots effort that won the debate in the minds of the public and ultimately, critically, that of Judge Cookson, who was charged with the deep-dive assessment of the proposal. Thank you to the commissioners of the Board of Public Utilities for your unanimous and just decision today”
“I am very pleased to see the BPU uphold Judge Cookson’s factual ruling on the Monmouth County Reliability Project,” Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso said. “She conducted an incredibly in-depth review of the proposal and came to the same conclusion as many of our residents: more research is required to look into alternative corridors and non-transmission solutions.”