On September 8, the Jersey City Council passed a resolution opposing the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s (PVSC) plans for a new fracked gas power plant in Newark, and called on Governor Murphy to direct the agency to shift to a renewable energy alternative.
Jersey City is the third municipality to formally oppose the project, following Hoboken and Livingston.
“If we are going to seriously address the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida, we need to not only explore long-term sustainable alternatives, but adopt them,” said Jersey City Councilman Rolando Lavarro. “I hope the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission takes note of Jersey City’s position and acts accordingly.”
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 Jersey City administration for taking a stand against the dirty energy plant and supporting the well-being of our community and climate,” said Melanie Segal, Jersey City resident and board member of The Climate Mobilization North Jersey. “The welfare of New Jersey residents depends on Governor Murphy rejecting the proposed power plant in Newark and promoting a renewable alternative in line with New Jersey’s own pledge for 100% clean energy in the next 30 years. We hope to see Jersey City continuing to take bold and necessary steps in the fight against climate change.”
“As we can see from the recent storm in our area, our environment is changing. Any step that we can take to protect our residents, maintain natural resources, and apply green practices will assist in making our Earth a better place,” said Jersey City Councilwoman Denise Ridley. “Thank you to the advocates who are bringing these issues to the attention of lawmakers.”
While local community members and advocates agree about the importance of improving infrastructure resiliency in the face of a worsening climate crisis, they are demanding a clean renewable energy project that will not increase the pollution burden in the Ironbound and the surrounding region, which has historically faced the brunt of New Jersey’s pollution burden and decades of environmental injustice.
“If Governor Murphy wants to live up to his clean energy, environmental justice, and climate commitments, then he must direct his own agency to stop all plans for a massive new fracked gas power plant in the Ironbound, and to redesign the project with a clean, renewable energy-based source of power,” said Matt Smith, Food & Water Watch NJ State Director. “We commend the Jersey City Council for being the first municipality to oppose plans for another fossil fuel project in this region. In order to protect our climate and the health of residents across our state, other municipalities must join with Hoboken, Jersey City, and Livingston and call on Governor Murphy to stop PVSC’s dirty energy proposal.”