The National Park Service is backing a plan for a new high-voltage power line through the recreation area spanning Pennsylvania and New Jersey on either side of the Delaware River.

The park service on Thursday endorsed a plan to route the proposed 500-kilovolt line through four miles of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Pennsylvania-based PPL Electric Utilities and its New Jersey partner, PSE&G, say the billion-dollar Susquehanna-Roseland line will stabilize electric service in the Northeast. The recommended route would replace an existing line that runs through the Water Gap, but with towers nearly twice as tall.

In January, the utilities pledged at least $30 million to preserve land adjoining the recreation area. Environmental groups oppose the new line, saying it was adversely impact views and animal habitats.

Final approval could come later this year.

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