Gov. Phil Murphy came out against a Meadowlands natural gas power plant proposal, after facing criticism from environmentalists for staying silent on the controversial project since plans surfaced more than a year and a half ago.
“I’ve deferred on this long enough. I have to say this project doesn’t make sense for New Jersey,” Murphy said during Wednesday night’s “Ask Gov. Murphy” segment on WBGO.
Soon after, North Bergen Mayor, and a key legislative ally of Murphy, State Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-32nd District, conceded he would seek an alternate use for the property.
I just can’t find the justification for building a power plant in the Meadowlands and increasing emissions. I’m unequivocally against the project.
– Gov. Phil Murphy
The natural gas-powered station based in North Bergen would generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity – all of which would be transmitted to New York City via a cable at the bottom of the Hudson River – and release at least 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
“This project simply doesn’t make sense for N.J.,” Murphy added. “I just can’t find the justification for building a power plant in the Meadowlands and increasing emissions. I’m unequivocally against the project.”
Environmentalists argued the plant could jeopardize Murphy’s environmental protection and clean energy goals for the state, such as achieving 100 percent reliance on clean energy by 2050 and full reentry into the multistate Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Such groups are also calling for Murphy to block a series of similar controversial pipelines and power plants proposed throughout the state.
The North Bergen plant’s approval has hit repeated roadblocks from environmental regulators in New Jersey and New York City, but its developer, Mistsubishi Corp. subsidiary Diamond Generating Corp., has nonetheless moved forward with the permitting process.
“Right now, there is actually no permit or proposal before any adjudicating body,” the governor added. “This has gone on long enough. It’s time to throw in the towel.”
Sacco defended the project and said that it would have generated “substantial new tax revenue and job creation.”
“We will now move forward on to finding an alternate use for the property that will hopefully provide union construction jobs and significant financial benefits for North Bergen,” he added.