FREEHOLD, N.J. – Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) today issued a statement regarding Jersey Central Power & Light Company (JCP&L) and Mid-Atlantic Interstate Transmission, LLC (MAIT) withdrawing their petition to the Board of Public Utilities for the transfer of some of JCP&L’s transmission assets to MAIT.
“I am encouraged that Jersey Central Power & Light Company (JCP&L) has withdrawn its petition to the Board of Public Utilities for the transfer of some of JCP&L’s transmission assets to a new sister company,” Smith said. “Had it been approved, I believe it would have made it easier for JCP&L to build the Monmouth County Reliability Project, which I believe is ill-conceived and not in the best interest of the residents. There is still more to be done to protect the citizens of Monmouth County from the potential negative effects of these proposed high voltage transmission lines, and I will continue to work with the residents and grassroots efforts to complete this task. I have a meeting with NJ Transit next week to do just that, and will continue working with other officials in this regard.”
Over the summer Smith met with residents of Holmdel and Middletown to hear their concerns and see first-hand how the proposed 10-mile, 230-kilovolt electric transmission line proposed by Jersey Central Power and Light (along a New Jersey Transit rail right-of-way) could impact their lives, safety and properties.
If approved, the so-called Monmouth Reliability Project could place high-voltage “monopoles” through the heart of several Monmouth County neighborhoods and be built close to homes, schools and places of worship in Aberdeen, Hazlet, Holmdel, Middletown and Red Bank. Preliminary plans call for the poles to vary in height from between 110 and 210 feet, with taller structures necessary for spanning the Navesink River.
Smith met with Middletown residents of the citizen’s advocacy group RAGE (Residents Against Giant Electric), discussing the potential negative health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), the possible decrease in property values, the potential negative environmental impacts and the “fall zones” that the towering poles would present. There is concern that prolonged exposure to EMFs may have negative health consequences. While the findings of various studies have been mixed, some studies have suggested an increased prevalence of cancer including leukemia, and the World Health Organization has said that such radiation is “possibly carcinogenic.”
Having walked along the proposed route, Smith believes it places an unnecessary and undue burden on communities and property owners, and given the health risks, an abundance of caution should be exercised, and he opposes the current plan.