Home > Uncategorized > Time To Pull The Plug on the BL England Power Plant

Time To Pull The Plug on the BL England Power Plant

Climate Change crisis demands zero carbon renewable energy future

Insane fracking, pipeline, and power plant scheme must be killed

DEP Holding Public Hearing Tuesday Night on New Air Pollution Permit

Investor alert: There will be protracted legal battles, growing public opposition, and civil disobedience to block these pipeline and power plant projects.

ble[Updates below]

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public hearing on Tuesday (5/17/16) night at 7 pm at the Upper Township Municipal Building located at 2100 Tuckahoe Road Petersburg, NJ 08270 on  a new air pollution control permit for the BL England plant (BLE). There will be a protest at 6:30 before the hearing – bring your friends and a sign.

It is important that people attend the hearing and speak out against this fossil fuel plant. Those who can’t attend to speak can submit written comments until May 23 (see public notice for where to send written comments).

NJ Spotlight wrote a good set up story CLOUD OF CONTROVERSY HANGS OVER AIR PERMIT FOR NEW B.L. ENGLAND POWER PLANT and Jeff Tittel has an Op-Ed which provide some helpful information.

We go a little deeper in the weeds and provide the permit documents and some context and history.

Climate crisis – “Leave it in the ground”

In 2007, the Legislature passed and Governor Corzine signed the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA) P.L.  2007, c. 112;  (N.J.S.A 26:2C-37), at the time, one of the strongest greenhouse gas laws in the country:

The Legislature therefore finds and declares that it is in the public interest to establish a greenhouse gas emissions reduction program to limit the level of Statewide greenhouse gas emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generated outside the State but consumed in the State, to the 1990 level or below, of those emissions by the year 2020, and to reduce those emissions to 80% below the 2006 level by the year 2050.

Since then, the science of climate change has become far more dire and demonstrated that we must make far deeper cuts in emissions much earlier than previously thought to avoid irreversible climate change and catastrophic warming.

Simply put, NJ can not meet the aggressive GWRA emission reduction goals with continued investments in and construction of major fossil fuel infrastructure.

The most recent science suggests that we need to leave at least 80% of known fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil, & gas) in the ground if we are to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, and even more to avoid the 1.5 degree goal recently embraced in the Paris climate accords.

Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, especially in the short run. Several credible recent studies document that the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas, i.e. from fracking wells, fugitive pipeline and compressor station emissions, through power plant emissions are at least as bad – or even worse – than coal, thus gas is not a “bridge fuel” to a stable climate future.

Failure to regulate greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gases are defined and regulated as “air contaminants (pollutants) under NJ’s State Air Pollution Control Act. The draft air permit would allow emissions – from the BL plant alone – of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases, as CO2 equivalents.

The NJ Air Pollution Control Act mandates that air permits reflect “State of the Art” (SOTA) pollution control requirements. No GHG emissions controls at BLE clearly can’t be SOTA.

The DEP permit fails to require any pollution controls for greenhouse gas emissions and fails to even consider lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from upstream gas sources that power the project. Failure to conduct lifecycle cumulative impact analysis and compare emissions for compliance with the GWRA reduction goals can not be SOTA.

The Christie DEP has no plan for how to meet the federal EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan regulations. It is irresponsible and reckless for DEP to issue approvals of major new GHG emission sources in the absence of a State plan that meets federal requirements.

It is not clear whether the BLE plan and the DEP draft air permit will comply with EPA’s proposed new power plant emission regulations (Clean Power Plan), so this permit should not be issued before those regulations are adopted in final form. BLE emissions would impact the entire State’s power sector, first by impacting the State’s GHG  emissions rates under EPA CPP rules and secondly by undermining investments in renewable energy via subsidized and artificially low energy price that fail to consider the social costs of carbon

Source: US EPA (hit link)

Source: US EPA (hit link)

The Long Strange Trip of BLE – Well Past Time to Pull The Plug

Back in December, I flagged the issue and anticipated the need to revise the air permits after significant changes were made to the original BLE re-powering plan, which was part of the South Jersey Gas Pinelands pipeline approval, see

This last minute change in the BLE re-powering plan and how it was kept from the public and the Pinelands Commission is just another example of how absurd this whole review process is and how dirty the regulatory process has become.

Over a decade ago, US EPA and NJ DEP found that the BL England plant’s pollution violated the Clean Air Act and took enforcement action. That resulted in a Jan. 4, 2006 Administrative Consent Order (ACO) that required that the plant either be upgraded to meet the standards of the Clean Air Act or shut down.

The costs of upgrading the plant were determined to be an uneconomic investment, so the decision was made by the owner Atlantic City Electric, to shut down the plant.

But later in 2006 ACE sold the plant to financial speculators named “RC Cape May” who decided to repower the plant and convinced the Corzine DEP to extend the compliance deadlines. Ten years later, the plant is still polluting.

Then the pro-gas Christie Administration came along in 2010 – lobbied by the infamous law firm of Wolf & Samson – and green lighted DEP permits, BPU approvals, and extended the original 2006 ACO compliance deadline 3 times. No regulatory uncertainty under Bob Martin’s leadership!

The Christie crew also rammed a dedicated private pipeline through the Pinelands to serve the plant and make ratepayers pick up 60% of the $100 million construction costs of the pipeline, while providing even more public subsidies by exempting the BL England plant from various greenhouse gas emissions fees and charges.

The BLE repowering is part of a $500 million boondoggle – $400 million for the BL repowering and another $100 million for their private SJG Pinelands “dedicated” pipeline.

It will be provided gas from a multi-billion dollar regional fossil energy Ponzi scheme that begins with fracking wells from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, and the $1+ billion new PennEast pipeline, which will also serve the other Pinelands pipeline, known as the “Southern Reliability Link” (SRL) owned by the NJ Natural Gas Co.

Both those Pinlands pipelines are facing litigation – and DEP has not even issued all permits to the SRL, which are sure to have appeals – and the PennEast pipeline is certain to face litigation as well should FERC or DEP issue final approvals.

Investor alert: There will be protracted legal battles, growing public opposition, and civil disobedience to block these pipeline and power plant projects.

It’s time to pull the plug on the entire fossil enterprise and accelerate investments in renewable power.


I’ve previously disclosed the fact – unreported by NJ press – that Wolff & Samson ELEC reports show meetings with the Gov.’s Office to lobby for the BL England plant and the SJG pipeline (see this and this for examples of W&S lobbying of DEP)

Here are some of the benefits of that lobbying, worth hundreds of millions of dollars granted by Christie controlled state agencies:

1.In an April 29, 2013 Order, BPU quietly granted huge tax breaks and subsidies to the Rockland Capital BL England Plant:

Source: BPU Order

2. This BPU Order also provided secrecy to cover up the amount of huge ratepayer subsidies to Rockland Capital.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.