A new report calls on Garden State officials to stop a number of proposed pipeline, compressor and gas-fired power plant projects from moving forward because they will have a severe negative impact on global warming.

The report, "Fighting Climate Change in NJ: The Urgent Case for a Moratorium on all Fossil Fuel Projects," focuses on the climate impacts from greenhouse gas emissions from 13 projects. Empower NJ, a coalition of 58 environmental, citizen, and community organizations, prepared the report.

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said we’ve seen a massive expansion of fossil fuel projects in New Jersey over the past decade, and “if we move forward with these projects we’re going to see our global warming emissions skyrocket. We’d see our total global warming pollution in the state increase by 30 percent.”

At the same time, five gas-powered power plants that have been proposed “would increase global warming pollution from our electricity sector by over 75 percent," he said.

“This report really should be a wakeup call that we cannot continue as business as usual on expanding fossil fuels.”

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said if these projects are allowed to move forward, “we’ll never meet our greenhouse gas goals, we’ll also never meet the governor’s goal of 100 percent renewable by 2050 because these plants will be around for another 30 to 40 years if they get built.”

O’Malley said as more emphasis is placed on developing renewable energy in New Jersey, we can’t continue with a business as usual approach.

“We cannot massively expand fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the state, which have received an outpouring of public opposition.”

In response to a request for comment on the report, the Governor’s deputy press secretary Alexandra Altman issued the following statement:

“Governor Murphy has directed his team to take a hard look at energy infrastructure projects as part of an updated Energy Master Plan, which will focus on renewable energy and shift away from outdated energy sources. Governor Murphy is committed to moving New Jersey on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050. New Jersey is a national leader in the production of renewable energy sources with one of the most ambitious offshore wind energy targets in the country.  Specifically, New Jersey has committed to 3500 MW of offshore wind energy generation by 2030 and 600 MW of clean energy storage by 2021 and 2000 MW by 2030. New Jersey has also established reasonable targets for energy efficiency and peak demand usage reductions, while also accelerating and expanding the development of solar projects in the State.”

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy was greeted by demonstrators in North Bergen protesting a proposed power plant there, one of the projects highlighted in the report.

The North Bergen Liberty Generating development is planned for a 15-acre site. Developers say the "safe, clean, and efficient natural gas-fired plant" will replace an aging nuclear facility and would be more efficient that fossil-fuel plants and generate as much power for New York as a solar array six times the size of Central Park or a wind farm the size of Bergen and Hudson counties combined.

The pipeline and compressor projects addressed in the report:

  • The PennEast Pipeline
  • Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE)  — Somerset and Middlesex counties and the Raritan Bay
  • Cape Atlantic Reliability Project (South Jersey Gas Pipeline) — Pinelands
  • Southern Reliability Link — Pinelands
  • Garden State Expansion Project — Bordentown, Chesterfield
  • Gateway Expansion Project (Roseland Compressor Station) — Roseland and Paterson
  • Rivervale South to Market — Bergen and Hudson counties and the Meadowlands
  • Lambertville East Expansion

The gas-fired power plant projects addressed in the report:

  • North Bergen Liberty Generating Station (Meadowlands Power Plant)
  • Phoenix Energy Center (Highlands Power Plant) — Holland Township
  • BL England — Upper Township
  • Keasbey Energy Center — Woodbridge
  • Sewaren & PSE&G — Woodbridge

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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