The Northeast's longest free-flowing river, the Upper Delaware River, meanders from Hancock, N.Y., to Matamoras, Pa. Bald eagles make this a popular bird-watching spot. Abundant fish lure fly fishermen, and Class II and III rapids attract kayakers. Congress, recognizing the natural beauty of this area, set aside the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River for protection under the National Parks System in 1978. The area, 90 minutes from New York City, "is pristine and gorgeous," says Michael Schmidt, a kayaker and regular park visitor. "It is one of the most tranquil parts of the country I have ever been to."
But the area is just one of the many historic and scenic places that may soon have a new neighbor: a 500-kilovolt transmission line some 160 feet overhead. New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. has proposed a 190-mile line from central New York to the lower Hudson Valley to alleviate energy congestion in the Northeast. The preferred route in some sections follows a gas pipeline—a right of way that predates the park—and passes through four miles of ridge top along the river and a mile-long section of the canal.
Not surprisingly, local and national organizations have been actively opposing the line. "If someone was fly fishing on the river or recreating on the park site, they will look up and shadows will be cast down on the river and in the valley by these 160-foot towers," says Bryan Faehner, legislative representative at the National Parks Conservation Association.
Similar battles are taking place in eight eastern states. ... Read More →