Thursday, July 12, 2018

A power plant in NJ's Highlands? On a pure trout stream?

DEP gives exemption to a proposed development in Highlands but also deems project inconsistent with water-quality regulations

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

A proposal to build a power plant on the Musconetcong River has obtained an exemption from Highlands rules but faces a bigger hurdle in complying with state water quality regulations.
The state Department of Environmental Protection approved the Highlands exemption for the Phoenix Energy Center to redevelop a 25-acre property along the river in Holland Township.
At the same time, however, the DEP found the project is inconsistent with the Upper Delaware Water Quality Management Plan, a verdict that means the agency cannot issue any permits for the plant until the applicant applies and amends the areawide plan.
The applicant, Abatis Advisors, is seeking to build a 663-megawatt power plant on the site of a former paper mill on the Musconetcong, one of the few rivers in the state classified as a Category 1 (C1) stream, the designation given to the most pristine waterways.
The project is located in the Highlands Preservation Area, but the state agency ruled it qualified for an exemption under the Highlands regulations governing redevelopment of former sites where building already has occurred.

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