Kearny council passes measure opposing PVSC’s proposed fracked gas power plant in Newark

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The Kearny Town Council approved a measure at last night’s meeting opposing the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s proposed fracked gas power plant in Newark.

Kearny Town Hall. Photo via Google Maps.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Kearny is the fourth municipality to formally oppose the project, following Hoboken, Jersey City, and Livingston.

“For too long, this region has endured air pollution and noxious orders from heavy industry, garbage landfills, incinerators, and power plants. For too long, the residents of this region have suffered the negative health impacts from air pollution. It has to stop now,” Kearny Mayor Al Santos said in a statement.

“Residents must come first. I strongly support efforts to improve the quality of life for residents of the Ironbound and the region.”

The power plant would be built at PVSC’s massive sewage processing facility in the Ironbound section of Newark, part of a resiliency project that was proposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

That storm caused the sewerage plant to lose power and spill billions of gallons of raw or partially treated sewage into the Passaic River.

The project would provide backup power to the treatment plant when the grid is down, but PVSC also plans to run the facility to offset their power needs from the grid at other times.

“We applaud the Kearny administration for taking a stand against the dirty energy plant and supporting the well-being of North Jersey communities and our climate,” added Ironbound Community Corporation Deputy Director of Organizing Maria Lopez-Nuñez.

“The welfare of Newark residents and residents across the region depends on Governor Murphy rejecting the proposed PVSC power plant and investing in an alternative guided by input from our community.”

Several years ago, the Kearny Council also passed a resolution against a similar resiliency project that included a fracked gas power plant proposed by NJ Transit to be built right in their own town.

After 18 months of opposition from activists in support of a renewable alternative, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) directed NJ Transit to halt all work on this project and invest in a renewable energy-based power source.

“Earlier this month, Governor Murphy directed PVSC to delay a vote to move ahead with this power plant. We appreciate this pause but without further intervention, this project could move ahead very quickly,” Food & Water Watch NJ State Director Matt Smith.

“If Governor Murphy wants to live up to his clean energy, environmental justice, and climate commitments, then just as he did with NJ Transit he must direct PVSC to stop all plans for a new fracked gas power plant in the Ironbound and make a strong commitment that PVSC will use their resources and the massive taxpayer grant at their disposal to redesign the project with a clean, renewable energy-based source of power.”