The granting of Hess’s permit to create a new power plant in Newark depended on agreements to limit local air pollution. In return for a tall smoke stack and a decrease in the amount of toxins that make up the cocktail of fuel the plant will burn, the city granted tax abatements to Hess while New Jersey State guaranteed a locked-in a low price for all the gas required to fuel the plant – pledging that NJ taxpayers would foot the bill whenever gas prices were higher than Hess’ guaranteed low rate. But the entire agreement has unravelled thanks to corporate skullduggery. Without serious legal intervention, it looks like plant owners will re-neg on protections they pledged to put in place – and intend to instead rake in huge profits at the expense of local air quality. In effect, Newark’s innocent children and vulnerable adult residents will be made to pay with their lives for financial gain that others will enjoy.
Hess sold the Newark Energy Center (aka NEC, previously named the HESS Plant) to an energy investment company, which immediately petitioned the DEP to make changes in the building plan that was originally approved in May 2012. NEC developers have applied for two new secret, “emergency” building permits. But the actual emergency is that these changes may result in a SIGNIFICANT increase to local air pollution. With one in four Newark residents already suffering from asthma, how much more pollution can be added to city air without dire consequences?
NEC owners plan to change their smoke stacks’ heights and diameters, causing more concentrated emissions to be released; and to increase by 400% the quantity of toxic chemicals over what was originally agreed upon. They also want to use city drinking water as its main water source instead of gray water, which the original plans call for.
And by the way, no emergency protocols have yet been developed for this site, although accidents are common at sites using the type of chemicals NEC is threatening to use. In fact, the very same chemicals have caused explosions before in Newark, itself.
Speak out for Clean Air!
Together, Newark and allies can make sure the New Jersey DEP protects residents’ health, community, and environment. Here’s how:
- Attend the Public Hearing on HESS/NEC “emergency” application
Tuesday February 3 2015 @ 7pm
Newark City Hall
920 Broad Street, Newark, NJ
- Submit a public comment to the DEP. Learn how at the DEP website, where you can also see the permit requests for the changes NEC wants to make.
- For more information and coaching on how to submit a public comment, contact Molly Greenberg ICC Environmental Programs Coordinator 973-817-7013 x215 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please share these flyers with your neighbors!