Last night, the Edison Township Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution 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.
With this action, Edison became the first municipality 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.
“I am pleased that the Edison council was able to take a stand against an unneeded fossil fuel power plant during this time of climate emergency,” said John Hsu, an Edison resident and Food & Water Watch volunteer. “People sometimes wonder what residents can do at the local level, but efforts like this added up together will make a world of a difference.”
Middlesex County residents were alarmed to learn of the large amounts of pollution and greenhouse gases that the plant would emit into the atmosphere here.
“Two of the leading causes of death in Middlesex County are heart disease and cancer, and lung disease causes 4.1% of deaths in our county. The pollutants from this proposed power plant will only contribute to these numbers,” said Aishwarya Devarajan, an Edison resident and Food & Water Watch volunteer.
“We have to look after our environment. This plan was strictly a money grab for a large corporation, and it would come at the expense of our health,” said Edison Councilman Richard Brescher.
The resolution was introduced by Councilman Brescher, following months of persistent advocacy from Food & Water Watch and local residents. Its adoption comes as state officials develop and implement rules under a new environmental justice law, which will make it harder for polluting projects like this one to be sited in overburdened communities.
Competitive Power Ventures is “trying to get in under the wire to foist an unnecessary, health-endangering facility on local citizens solely for the sake of their bottom line,” said Keith Voos, Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Metuchen-Edison Branch of the NAACP.
If approved by the Murphy administration, the proposed new facility would be a significant source of air and climate pollution. 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.
“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.”