Zarwin, Baum Attorney Obtains Favorable Settlement of Longstanding Challenge to Controversial Electrical Transmission Line
September 13, 2010
Paul M. Schmidt, Co-chair of the Environmental Practice Group at Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer & Toddy, P.C., negotiated a settlement on behalf of client Saw Creek Estates Community Association, Inc. (SCECA). The settlement ends SCECA’s challenge to PPL Electric Utilities’ (PPL) application for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approval to construct the 130-mile long, $1.5 billion Susquehanna-Roseland 500 kV Electrical Transmission Line. The agreement comes after months of negotiations ending SCECA’s two-year opposition to construction of the power line.
Under the terms of the agreement, SCECA will withdraw its Commonwealth Court appeal of the recent PUC ruling which granted approval of the line. SCECA will also cease all current and future efforts to oppose the new power line, including its opposition to PPL’s application for National Park Service review of PPL’s proposal to run the line through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area. For its part, PPL Electric has agreed to reimburse SCECA for its legal fees incurred to challenge the PUC application, and to fund certain infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy independence projects if construction goes forward.
The amount of the settlement remains confidential; however, SCECA representatives expressed their satisfication with the agreement. Speaking on behalf of the Association, Board President Robert W. Palmer said, “We are very thankful for the support of our members and others whose efforts have helped make this agreement possible. The settlement recognizes our legitimate concerns and ensures that adequate funding and remediation efforts are in place to offset adverse impacts on our community.”
In addition to resolving past and future legal disputes and compensating SCECA, the agreement sets forth a process for the parties to work cooperatively during future line construction and maintenance activities.
Mr. Schmidt said of the settlement agreement, “SCECA has been very clear on the bases for its objections, and has carefully pursued available legal avenues for relief. I’m glad we could reach a resolution which not only compensates SCECA for the adverse impacts of the line, but also makes SCECA whole after having exercised its legitimate right to object to the project.”