Environmental and Climate Justice Organizations Respond to Tammy Murphy’s Opposition to PVSC Gas Plant

Environmental and Climate Justice Organizations Respond to Tammy Murphy’s Opposition to PVSC Gas Plant

Newark, NJ — On Tuesday, February 20 at an event in Newark, Tammy Murphy announced her opposition to the proposal by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) to build a new gas power plant in the city’s Ironbound community. This would be the fourth gas power plant in Newark, a city already overburdened with harmful air pollution.

“The roots of this struggle for Environmental Justice in the Ironbound of Newark can be traced back to over 30 years ago when mothers and caregivers in our community first responded in solidarity to protect their children from the dangers posed by the increasing number of polluting facilities in this neighborhood. Today, we fight with renewed determination as Tammy Murphy joins the chorus of voices, including elected officials from Newark, mothers, caretakers, youth, over 135 health professionals, and our community at large, who have been in steadfast opposition against the looming threat of a fourth fossil fuel power plant in Newark,” said Maria Lopez-Nuñez*, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy with the Ironbound Community Corporation* and member of President Biden’s White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. “We are hopeful that with the addition of Tammy Murphy’s voice to this choir, we will be able to put an end to the injustice of the PVSC power plant plan.”

 

Newark residents suffer from some of the worst air quality in the entire country due to a long history of environmental racism. The Ironbound is a 4-square mile community where 50,000 people reside and is home to three gas-burning power plants, our state’s largest trash incinerator, and constant diesel truck traffic through the community to the port and warehouses. Citywide, one in four children is diagnosed with asthma, three times higher than the national average.

“Black and brown lungs have had enough. If the Murphy Administration and NJ Transit can pull the plug on a dirty gas plant just a couple miles away, as they just did, why can’t it happen here in Newark? Kudos to Tammy Murphy for joining Newark’s state legislators, Mayor Baraka, County Commissioners, Municipal Council Members, public health officials, residents, and activists in saying no to the further poisoning of our  lungs.  There are better options out there for our health, jobs, climate, resiliency and Newark Bay,” said Kim Gaddy*, Clean Water Action* National Environmental Justice Director, founder of Newark’s South Ward Environmental Alliance*, and a member of Governor Murphy’s NJ Council on the Green Economy. “Let today be the final nail in the coffin for PVSC’s dirty gas plant. Governor Murphy and PVSC, are you listening?”

Tammy Murphy is making the smart decision by opposing the proposed PVSC gas-fired power plant, thus joining the list of public representatives and activists in Essex, Union, Passaic, Hudson and Bergen Counties, created resolutions to stop this fossil-fuel plant,” said Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, Newark Environmental Commission and Weequahic Park Association. “If Governor Murphy really cares about the well-being of residents and the environment, he would espouse those opposing PVSC’s ill-conceived and archaic gas-fired plant that, which now includes Tammy Murphy, and focus on renewable energy transition.”

The Ironbound also has NJ’s largest wastewater treatment facility run by the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. It is here where the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, a taxpayer-funded public agency, wants to build the new gas power plant to power the treatment plant in the event the grid goes down, something that has not occurred since Hurricane Sandy in 2013, despite record-breaking rain from Hurricane Ida.

“In 2021, six of us women Environmental Justice leaders and activists met with Tammy Murphy and requested her support in opposing the PVSC gas plant to protect children, and expectant mothers from health impacts from more fossil fuel pollution. Several weeks ago we published an opinion piece in the Star-Ledger again calling on her to take a stand against the gas plant,” said Paula Rogovin*, Organizer with the Don’t Gas the Meadowlands Coalition*. Since 2021, opposition to the project has grown exponentially. We welcome Ms. Murphy to this years-long effort.”

Last month NJ Transit canceled plans for a similar gas plant proposal in Kearny, saying the agency no longer needs their own power plant due to recent multi-billion dollar investments by public utilities to upgrade the power grid and raise substations above flood levels, making a grid outage highly unlikely. For several years we have been making this very point both to NJ Transit and to PVSC against the development of these unnecessary, dirty gas plants. With NJ Transit’s recent announcement, the case for building another health-harming gas plant in Newark crumbles further, We hope that Ms. Murphy’s statement is a sign our state’s administration is listening to the science and to impacted community members and is no longer allowing PVSC to pursue this gas plant proposal.

“As an advocate for a cleaner and healthier future, I am thrilled that Tammy Murphy is walking her talk on infant and maternal health and calling for the end of the PVSC gas plant proposal,” said Liz Ndoye*, Leader of HobokenRESIST*. “We hope this signifies we are getting close to the end of this ill-conceived, unnecessary project and public health disaster.”

* While the advocates and organizations quoted in this release and the organizations they represent applaud Tammy Murphy’s opposition to the PVSC gas plant, this media release and its quotes are not an endorsement of her campaign for U.S. Senate.

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