Home > Uncategorized > Environmental Justice Advocates Call On Gov. Murphy To Kill Proposed Fossil Power Plant In Newark

Environmental Justice Advocates Call On Gov. Murphy To Kill Proposed Fossil Power Plant In Newark

Gov. Murphy Has “No Comment”

Can Someone Buy PVSC A Big Extension Cord?

Where Are the EJ Warriors From The “Keep It Green” Mafia?

Will PVSC Approve A $118 Million At Risk Construction Contract Today?

"We're talking about overburdened neighborhoods"

“We’re talking about overburdened neighborhoods”

[Update: 1/14/22 – Apparently, Gov. Murphy asked the PVSC to postpone vote on the construction contracts. According to the Gov.’s press office:

The pause will allow the project to undergo a more thorough environmental justice review and robust public engagement process, ensuring that the voices of the community are heard.

I say “apparently”, because there are no government decision or policy documents. I am so tired of this administration governing by press release and press statement. Even the Gov.’s Executive Orders read more like press releases than policy statements.

Don’t be fooled: If the Gov. were serious, then DEP would have denied the permits.

The press office statement is highly misleading. Here’s why. As I’ve written many times:

1) this project is NOT subject to the environmental justice law for 2 reasons: a) because DEP has not adopted regulations and b) because DEP deemed the permit application complete before regulations were adopted;

Accordingly, the project can not undergo an enforceable environmental justice review because there are no EJ standards to enforce.

2) this project is NOT subject to DEP’s recently proposed greenhouse gas (CO2) regulation for 2 reason: a) the DEP proposed rules only apply to fossil fueled power plants that generate and provide electric power to the grid (the PVSC project does not do that) and b) the DEP deemed the PVSC permit application complete before the rules were adopted, so ver if the did apply – which they don’t – the rules would not apply.

The DEP and PVSC may hold additional voluntary meetings with the community, but they are pure window dressing and manipulation and can have no impact on DEP’s regulatory decisions on th e permit, which can only be made in accordance with and based on DEP regulations.

DEP Commissioner LaTourette is a former corpaote lawyer and knows this. Shame on him and Gov. Murphy for such blatant gaslighting.

The Gov. Press Office is gaslighting the public, again. That is totally unacceptable.  ~~~ end update]

I was going to write Part 3 in this series on the PVSC proposed new fossil frack fueled gas power plant today on environmental justice, resilience and community involvement issues. (see Part 1 (Climate) and Part 2 (Air Quality & community health impacts). I’m going to hold off on the community involvement issues until DEP responds to my 3 OPRA document requests.

But NJ Spotlight TV reporter Joanna Gagis did a fine job, so we’ll just post her news segment and let the activists speak for themselves, watch the segment:

Wow. All those high paid consulting engineers (CDM) couldn’t seem to figure out in their “alternatives analysis” that perhaps a simple and cheap connection and emergency service contract with the power plant across the street might be a better idea than spending $118 million on a new fossil fueled power plant in an already overburdened EJ community!

Talk about a boondoggle!

Gov. Murphy had “no comment”. Curious, as he just rammed corporate officials onto the Pinelands Commission to promote “diversity and environmental justice”.

I will add a few clarifying points on that story, however.

First, the environmental justice law does not apply to this project.

The law does not apply because DEP still has not adopted regulations – they haven’t even proposed them yet.

So much for all the EJ rhetoric from Gov. Murphy and DEP Commissioner LaTourette. If EJ is such a high priority for the administration, how is it that the DEP can’t get rules adopted so long after passage of the EJ law?

Second, even if the law did apply, it is highly likely that the PVSC would have exploited a huge loophole in that law.

That loophole allows DEP to approve a permit, even for a project that violates DEP’s own EJ standards, if they find that the project meets an undefined and vague “compelling public interest” standard.

As I warned, here is that novel and vague legislative standard: DEP is required to deny a permit for certain NEW facilities, based on review of an “environmental justice statement”, but only when DEP can issue this finding (with a huge public interest loophole):

a finding that approval of the permit, as proposed, would, together with other environmental or public health stressors affecting the overburdened community, cause or contribute to adverse cumulative environmental or public health stressors in the overburdened community that are higher than those borne by other communities within the State, county, or other geographic unit of analysis as determined by the department pursuant to rule, regulation, or guidance adopted or issued pursuant to section 5 of this act, except that where the department determines that a new facility will serve a compelling public interest in the community where it is to be located, the department may grant a permit that imposes conditions on the construction and operation of the facility to protect public health. 

And, when it mattered – when the deal was going down – we warned that EJ activists had been sold out, see:

Third, Gov. Murphy pulled another LBJ diversion stunt .

In more of his one trick pony show, he issued a good news press release on his corporate off shore wind project which drove favorable news coverage (except for NJ Spotlight TV – we’ll see how today’s PVSC meeting protest gets covered and see if they approve the construction project. I’m predicting they won’t).

Fourth, where are all the elected officials from Newark that constantly promote environmental justice policies?

I’m talking about US Senator Cory Booker.

I’m talking about Newark Mayor Baraka.

I’m talking about Newarks’ NJ Senator and Assembly representatives.

I’m talking about Senate Environment Committee Chair Bob Smith

Where are they?

Fifth, the NJ Green Mafia parachutes into Newark when they need political support for their selfish money grubbing to protect the backyards of their rich white landed gentry friends and funders. Look at these clowns:

baraka (1)

Where are they?

I’m talking about Ed Potosnak, NJ LCV, Tom Gilbert, NJCF, and Eric Stiles from NJ Audubon and the rest of the Green Mafia that ran the “Keep It Green” campaign.

The Green Mafia also like to parachute into Camden and use Camden kids as props in their green pimping scheme:

check out Olivia, now at DEP!

check out Olivia, now at DEP!

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