Following today’s public hearing, Senators Joe Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck (both R-Monmouth) urged state officials and agencies to reject an unnecessary power line project that has been fiercely opposed by residents of Monmouth County.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Sen. Jennifer Beck are seeking to prevent the construction of a controversial high-voltage transmission line through Monmouth County. (Flickr)
“These unsightly power lines would cut through some of Monmouth County’s most significant historic districts and most beautiful natural landscapes,” Senator Kyrillos said. “This project is no more welcome now than it was when it was first proposed 25 years ago. Residents have made it clear both in written correspondence, as well as at public meetings, that they do not want these power lines. We believe that the state should take these objections seriously and reject this project.”
A group of local community leaders attended the Senate Economic Growth Committee meeting to support the resolution. Leaders who attended the meeting include: Monouth County Freeholder Serena DiMaso, Aberdeen Mayor Fred Tagliarini, Hazlet Mayor Sue Kiley, Holmdel Mayor Greg Buontempo and Middletown Deputy Mayor Stephanie Murray. Representatives of Congressmen Frank Pallone and Chris Smith, as well as the Sierra Club, were also in attendance.
The resolution, SR-75, urges the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Transit Corporation and Governor Chris Christie to reject Jersey Central Power & Light’s application to undertake the Monmouth County reliability Project, as well as any future similar transmission infrastructure project in Monmouth County.
The proposed power lines project would be made of up of monopoles that would stretch nearly 10 miles between Aberdeen and Red Bank along a NJ Transit railroad right-of-way. The poles would reach a height of 140 feet or taller.
The project has been met unanimous opposition from the affected community as well as thousands of residents who have formed Residents Against Giant Electric (R.A.G.E). The grassroots effort to stop the installation of more than 100 poles through five municipalities has continued to grow. R.A.G.E. has already gathered nearly 7,000 signatures on a petition against the power lines.
Opponents of the project believe that the intrusive poles would be an eyesore and could drive property values down. They are also concerned that the electromagnetic field created by the high voltage could pose a serious health threat, especially since the lines would come in close proximity to densely-populated areas and numerous schools.
Senators Beck and Kyrillos, as well as Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, have called for an additional public hearing to ensure that every member of the community that wants to testify gets the chance to do so.
“I want to thank R.A.G.E. for their help in fighting this project. Their commitment and passion have played a huge role in rallying the community against these unnecessary power lines,” Senator Beck said. “The people have spoken, and they’ve made it very clear that this project might be acceptable in Ohio, but not here in New Jersey. It’s important to hear their voices and to work with them to find a reasonable alternative to improving the reliability of our electric grid.”
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