For Immediate Release
RIDGEFIELD PARK, NJ -- Residents joined elected officials and environmentalists for a rally and press conference opposing a massive fracked gas power plant proposed in the New Jersey Meadowlands, and for a moratorium on all 12 fossil fuel projects in the State.
Standing under a campaign billboard along the New Jersey Turnpike, they called on Governor Murphy to stop the project, and announced today that 43 towns and 4 state legislators are now on record opposing the plant. The press conference took place across from the existing PSE&G gas power plant in Ridgefield Park, which is less than one mile from the location of the proposed Meadowlands plant.
"This power plant proposal is a boondoggle that will worsen our air quality and pollute the Meadowlands without providing any power to New Jersey residents," said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. "The choices we make today—to continue to guzzle fossil fuels, or to build a sustainable society powered by renewable energy—will affect not just our lives, but our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. There is no excuse for inaction, and no reason to build new fossil fuel plants."
Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese, who represents Ridgefield and Ridgefield Park, said “While I support the creation of temporary labor opportunities, I have strong concerns about a gas-fired power plant being added to an area already burdened with PSEG Power’s Bergen Generating Station – one of the largest polluters in New Jersey. Just today, the Record published an article that the proposed plant would emit more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses than any other power plant in the state. At this point in time, two-thirds of the municipalities in my district, and over 40 in Bergen County, have passed resolutions in opposition to this power plant. We all share the same concern regarding the adverse health and environmental impacts of the proposed plant. Given Governor Murphy’s pledge to New Jersey achieving 100% clean energy by 2050, we need to commit to clean energy from this point forward.”
"We need to put the needs of our environment and public health first. Unfortunately, this power plant could cause environmental damage, impacting our air, water, and ecosystems," said District 37 Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. So far, forty-two Bergen County towns have passed nearly identical resolutions opposing the power plant, I stand with them in opposition."
"New Jersey receives no benefit from this power plant - the air pollution is not only bad for the surrounding towns but also for the entire region, said Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez. It will negatively affect our health and harm our property values. "We should be moving quickly on clean renewable energy projects instead of the dirty energy plants currently proposed here and throughout the state."
Statewide environmental and community groups are also calling on Governor Murphy to enact an emergency moratorium on all pending fossil fuel expansion projects. A new report from the coalition EMPOWER-NJ documented how the pending power plants and pipelines would drive a substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions, undermining Governor Murphy’s own climate goals.
"If Governor Murphy stops the Meadowlands power plant proposal, he would show that protecting our air, water and climate is a higher priority than fossil fuel industry profits,” added Matthew Smith, a Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “The truth is that the governor cannot have it both ways; if he is serious about battling the climate crisis, that means we cannot build the 12 proposed pipelines and power plants that will spew millions of tons of planet-warming emissions for decades to come. This is a make-or-break moment for Governor Murphy’s environmental legacy.”
"We are particularly concerned about the health impact on children from the proposed fracked gas-powered Meadowlands Plant and other fossil fuel projects,” said Paula Rogovin, co-founder of the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains. “The NJ DEP would allow unlimited ground level ozone if Mitsubishi (and other companies) buy credit from fossil fuel facilities that are closing. That's a farce. Ozone from the Meadowlands power plant (or others) would go directly into the lungs of children putting them and vulnerable adults at great risk. We need Governor Murphy to issue a Moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, NJ can revise the laws and regulations to prevent new fossil fuel infrastructure. This is an emergency, a climate emergency!"
“Hackensack Riverkeeper did not work to preserve the Meadowlands to have it destroyed by Diamond Generation. This proposal is wrong for our watershed, wrong for New Jersey and will do unmitigated harm to our River, our air, and our quality of life,” said Bill Sheehan of Hackensack Riverkeeper.
“If Governor Murphy cares about climate change and truly wants to get to 100 percent renewable energy he would stop the Meadowlands Power plant. If he cares about protecting the Meadowlands he would have DEP deny the permits. The administration’s credibility and environmental agenda is on the line with this plant. Governor Murphy must not allow the Meadowlands to be gassed. He must stop this dangerous and unneeded plant” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club.
"The proposed Meadowlands power plant presents a clear and present climate danger. But it also creates a test for the Murphy Administration: you can't both be a clean energy leader and also double down on dirty fossil fuels," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "NJDEP needs to look at the cumulative impacts of this proposed power plant in their review -- this project can't be viewed in isolation. Global warming pollution needs to be at the front and center of any permitting decision."
"The proposed Meadowlands gas plant is a bad deal for the climate, and a terrible deal for New Jersey," said Eric Benson, Clean Water Action NJ Campaign Director. Residents will suffer the local health impacts, lost jobs, property damage and bear the risks of rising seas in order to generate power for someone else. This and other similar projects proposed across the state are in direct conflict with the governor's clean energy plans, which is why we are calling on governor Murphy to enact a moratorium on fossil fuel projects."
The momentum behind the campaign will continue to build in the coming weeks. On February 20, Senator Loretta Weinberg will join local officials, advocates and residents at a town hall forum in Ridgefield. And mayors, advocates and Bergen County residents will go to the Bergen Freeholder meeting on March 6 to urge their representatives to oppose the project, and reject the proposal to cool the plant turbines with water from the county’s Little Ferry treatment plant.