Sunday, July 8, 2018

NJDEP issues first permits for Meadowlands power plant

Groups from across New Jersey protest plans for the North Bergen Liberty Generating Project , a proposed 1,200-megawatt gas-fired power plant from being built on a tract of land adjacent to protected wetlands in the New Jersey Meadowlands District on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Matt Smith, of Food & Water Watch, speaks during the protest.  (Photo: Michael Karas/

James M. O'Neil reports for

The Murphy Administration approved the first in a series of state permits needed by a company that wants to build a gas-fired power plant in the Meadowlands to provide energy to New York City.

The state Department of Environmental Protection approved freshwater wetlands, flood hazard area and waterfront permits for North Bergen Liberty Generating to build the power plant, and an underground cable line from the plant to the Hudson River and under the river to New York.

The company still needs to secure air quality and other permits, and approval from other agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, for the controversial project to proceed.

The first series of permits were approved June 26 and signed by Christopher Jones, manager in the DEP’s division of land use regulation.

A DEP spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the permit approvals.

The approvals generated angry comments from at least one environmental advocate.

“This is a big DEP misstep,” said Jeff Tittel, head of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This means this project is really heating up and the DEP is moving along with individual permits and not stepping back to ask the larger question of whether there should be a big power plant in the Meadowlands in the first place.”

Among other things, the initial permits allow the company to temporarily disturb nearly a half acre and permanently disturb a tenth of an acre of wetlands vegetation to build two stormwater outfall structures at the site of the new power plant in North Bergen.

It also gives the company the right to disturb a small area of vegetation to install underground cable lines in Edgewater.

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