Sierra Club: DEP Sides With Polluters – Renews Fossil Fuel Power Plant Permit in South Jersey

 

 

The DEP has renewed an air pollution permit for Eagle Point Power Generation LLC plant located at 1250 Crown Point Road, Westville, NJ 08093. According to the basis for the DEP Permit, the GHG emissions from the facility are 1,028,070 tons of C02e per year. This plant no longer has its license as a cogeneration plant, now it is merely a natural gas power plant.

 

“The Murphy Administration have sided with polluters over our environment by renewing an air permit for a fossil fuel power plant in South Jersey. DEP is re-permitting a facility in Westville that emits over 1 million tons of GHG’s per year and allowed the same facility to increase that amount by almost 75,000 tons of CO2. Instead of reducing our air pollution, DEP is increasing it, and not only that, they are letting Eagle Point use oil as a backup. We thank Bill Wolfe for bringing this permit renewal information to light. This is another example of the failure of the state to regulate C02 and GHG, even though they have had the authority to do so since 2005,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “If Governor Murphy is serious about doing something on climate change, then he needs to put a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects. DEP should be reducing pollution by requiring upgrades and technology to reduce C02 gases, not increasing them.”

 

The Eagle Point plant is also a major polluter for other traditional “criteria” and “hazardous air pollutants. The facility is classified as a major facility based on its potential to emit 247 tons per year of nitrogen oxide (NOx). This permit allows individual hazardous air pollutant to be emitted at a rate to not exceed: 152 pounds per year of benzene, 73 pounds year of acrolein, 8071 pounds per year of formaldehyde and 36 pounds per year of polycyclic organic matter (POM). The facility is also near Red Bank Elementary School and several hospitals, including the Jefferson Health in Philadelphia.

“The fact that DEP renewed Eagle Point’s air permit means there will be more GHGs and more hazardous pollutants like nitrous oxide and benzene in nearby communities. The facility is in an overburdened area with an incinerator not far from there. What’s even more concerning is that the power plant is right next to an elementary school and a hospital. We need to be doing more to protect our children, our lungs, and reduce climate impacts,” said Tittel. “We have to reduce existing sources of air pollution to get to zero carbon. DEP need to regulate and set standards for CO2, not only for new plants but for existing ones like Eagle Point. We need to upgrade our technology and pollution controls. That way we can ratchet down on emissions while getting to 100% renewable energy. The moratorium is not just about stopping the new fossil fuel projects, but cleaning up and getting rid of the old ones too.”

 

DEP has so far failed to regulate CO2 emissions like other pollutants. That’s among the reasons a moratorium on the state’s 8 proposed pipelines, 6 power plants and an LNG port is so important. All of those projects must be halted at least until regulations on CO2 and GHGs are put in place.

“DEP has had the authority to regulate CO2 and GHGs since 2005, but has chosen not to use that authority. Eagle Point Power Plant is another example of more hot air from the Murphy Administration on climate change.  New Jersey has to act and move forward to become a leader in combating climate change. We need a moratorium on all fossil-fuel projects in the state. As we call for a moratorium on new fossil fuels, we need to be making sure that developing pollution from existing plants have better air pollution control equipment so that we can rachet down on emissions and get to 100% renewable and zero carbon. We need to set a goal of 12,000 MW of offshore wind. We need real legislation to get us to 100% renewable by 2030 and zero carbon by 2050. The governor needs to step up and make these things happen, and stop pretending he’s treating climate change with the proper urgency,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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