Home > Uncategorized > EJ Communities Are Being Duped By EJ Activists Regarding Newark Garbage Incinerator and Sludge Permits

EJ Communities Are Being Duped By EJ Activists Regarding Newark Garbage Incinerator and Sludge Permits

False Hope Leads To Frustration That Just Disempowers People

Activists Still Fail To Tell The Truth About Flawed EJ Law They Supported

Another Pass For Murphy DEP Regulatory Delays

A friend just forwarded me an alert from Dave Pringle on behalf of Empower NJ climate and environmental justice (EJ) activists regarding public hearings on renewal of the DEP air permit for the Newark Covanta garbage incinerator and a zoning board hearing for a proposed sludge incinerator

Empower NJ Activists — Don’t let polluters that profit from damaging environmental justice communities and destroying our climate beat the clock. They continue to push at least 5 projects that target Newark’s Ironbound and downstream communities (Kearney, Hoboken, Jersey City, Hoboken, et al.) — 2 had hearings last week, and another 2 have hearings in the next 48 hrs. Talk about overburdened!!!

Please sign up to testify at virtual hearings on:  * Covanta’s existing garbage incinerator tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 16th at 6 pm); and Aries’ proposed sludge facility the next night (Thursday, November 17th at 6pm).

Empower NJ in alliance with EJ leaders (Ironbound Community Corp., South Ward Environmental Alliance, NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, et al.) are opposing these polluters’ efforts to gain approval for permits before NJ’s landmark law to protect overburdened communities goes into effect in 2023. We can’t let that happen!

Sadly, our EJ advocates have become incapable of telling the truth. Sadly, they supported the new EJ law, despite its major flaws and they can not now admit that.

The fact is, even if these facility permits were reviewed under the new environmental justice law, it would change nothing. That law did NOT make any changes to how DEP actually evaluates and issues air permits (i.e. the DEP risk assessments, air dispersion models, technical manuals, standards, and air permit regulations). DEP will continue air permit business as usual and continue to conclude that these facilities pose “acceptable” risks to public health and meet all applicable regulatory standards.

And the EJ law has a HUGE “compelling public interest” loophole designed exactly for these kinds of facilities. If you’re interested, see:

I sent the following note in reply to Pringle (which included the above criticism):

Dave – a friend forwarded your alert.

Your alert is misleading and not a service to the EJ community.

By giving false hope, you are manipulating and only setting these people up for disappointment instead of empowering them as activists. And you are protecting the Gov., Legislators, and the DEP who passed such a flawed and cynical EJ law. Specific misleading content includes:

1. Aries is a zoning board hearing – the EJ law does not even apply. (and you fail to tell the community that the provision that would have authorized local governments to veto DEP permits was stripped out of the introduced version of the EJ bill the Gov. signed into law!)

2. The Covanta hearing is for a permit renewal. The EJ law does not provide authority to DEP to deny a permit renewal, it merely allows DEP to impose permit conditions, e.g. mitigation. Perversely, this actually protects existing polluters from permit denial. And we know how Ironbound views “mitigation” from prior political deals on permit renewals. (see “community benefits”, page 43-45) It’s a shakedown operation, not an EJ or air quality or public health or climate “mitigation” scheme. Where’s Senator Booker? Will you join his press release declaring “victory” again when DEP issues the renewed permit? (NJ.com story)

“The Christie administration and Newark Mayor Cory Booker both lauded the move.

“Nothing is more fundamental to our wellbeing than the air we breath,” Booker said in a statement. “As a strong advocate for this upgrade, I am proud to be celebrating today’s major achievement with Covanta and everyone else who made it possible.”

3. “Beat the clock”? There is no clock. This is a diversion from criticizing the DEP for delay in proposing and adopting EJ regulations to implement the law.

The original version of the bill included a requirement that DEP adopt rules in 180 days. That was stripped out and deadline removed. (see Section 4.a.) 

The Gov signed the bill on September 18, 2020, so DEP rules would have been adopted in April 2021. EJ people got so played.

4.The EJ law goes “in effect in 2023″? FALSE. The law was in effect on the Gov.’s signature into law (See section 6 –This act shall take effect immediately”). It’s the implementing DEP regulations that are not in effect. The fact that it does not apply to the Covanta permit is due to DEP delays in adopting rules.

5. Why is Covanta running a DEP public hearing? Why do I have to supply my email address and personal info to Covanta to speak at a DEP public hearing? You should be blasting this abuse and abdication by DEP.

6. Your demand for Covanta, and all still operating dinosaurs incinerators should b SHUT THEM DOWN NOW!

Get a spine, stop playing games.

PS – Just one example: All forms of incineration (garbage, sludge, hospital waste etc) are major sources of ultra-fine particles. Recent science suggests severe adverse public health impacts. But there is not even DEP consideration to regulate ultra-fine particulates and establish air quality standards and emission standards, air pollution permit emission technology controls, and ambient air quality monitoring for them, etc.

The whole EJ program is based not on science, but slogans

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