Sunday, May 13, 2012

If Newark gets new power plant, do residents get shaft?

A 7-1 vote by Newark's planning board on Thursday allowing Hess to build a 655-megawatt natural gas power plant in the city's Ironbound section has outraged some residents and environmentalists. But a city  official applauded the decision.

"They just sent a death notice to the city of Newark," said Kim Gaddy, a resident and head of the North Jersey Chapter of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance.

The Sierra Club's Jeff Tittel agreed:

"You’re taking a community that has had more impact of pollution than almost any other place in the United States and now you’re going to put up a power plant," he said. "Instead of helping a community overcome its industrial past and move forward, you’re throwing it backward."  

Adam Zipkin, Newark’s deputy mayor of economic development, sees it differently.

He says that the city’s independent experts "have scrutinized the potential impact of this proposed plant on Newark’s air quality."

"Based on the results of that analysis, we believe that the project is likely to result in a net improvement to air quality by allowing the more polluting generators in our area — the coal and peaker plants — to run less often."

The plant is expected to bring 400 new jobs during the three years of construction and 26 when it becomes operative, according to John Schultz, vice president of Energy Operations for Hess

Hess promises to pay the city about $100 million over the next 30 years.

The Star-Ledger reports that the first $25 million will come right away in easements, environmental programs, a boiler replacement program and rehabilitation of the Ironbound Stadium.  The rest will come in payments in lieu of taxes — $2.6 million a year over the course of 30 years.

The $750 million plant would be erected near Newark Bay on a site, near a police firing range and the Essex County Correctional Facility, where Hess currently has maintains storage tanks. The property is a mile from the nearest private residence.

The proposed plant still needs City Council approval as well as permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

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Power plant is approved and Newark residents are outraged

Newark Approves Hess Power Plant In Ironbound Amid Local Opposition (Video)

Vote on Controversial Newark Power Plant Expected This Week

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