On Tuesday night, the Highland Park Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution strongly opposing plans for a gas-fired power plant in the Keasbey section of Woodbridge Township, and calling on the administration of Governor Phil Murphy to reject the facility’s air permit application.
The council’s action follows a vote in Edison earlier this month, where the Township Council became the first in New Jersey to formally oppose the fossil fuel infrastructure project.
The Competitive Power Ventures plan would place a 630 megawatt plant amid a densely populated community already overburdened with fossil fuel pollution. The company — which was embroiled in a high-profile corruption scandal in New York over approval for a facility in Orange County — already operates a fracked gas power plant adjacent to the proposed site.
The resolution was adopted as state officials develop rules under a new environmental justice law that will make it harder for polluting projects to be sited in overburdened communities. Each of the towns located within 5 miles of the proposed site (Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, South Amboy, Metuchen, and Edison) are considered overburdened, with 73% of all census block groups meeting one or more of the environmental justice criteria.
“We’re happy that the Highland Park Council passed a strong resolution. The proposed Keasbey gas-fired plant is an environmental justice issue for both the Highland Park and the Woodbridge Township communities,” said Ellen Whitt, a Highland Park resident who championed the issue.
“Our Council members and Mayor understand that burning fracked gas increases global warming and shortens lifespans. The only power that is acceptable in today’s world is the power of renewables,” said Tina Weishaus, Chairperson of Sustainable Highland Park, a committee that recommended this action to the Mayor and Council.
“There is simply no need to add another source of air and climate pollution in this part of the state, or anywhere else for that matter,” said Food & Water Watch organizer Charlie Kratovil. “If Governor Murphy wants us to believe he is ready to be a climate leader, he will reject the Keasbey plant.”
The resolution calls for the Borough Clerk to forward the resolution to Governor Murphy, as well as Rep. Frank Pallone, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, State Senator Patrick Diegnan, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, and the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners.