Governor applauds EPA decision against Pa. power plant

TRENTON – The governor’s office applauded today’s decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that a Pennsylvania power plant must reduce emissions into New Jersey.

“The EPA made clear that harmful emissions from a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plant will not be tolerated,” Gov. Chris Christie said this afternoon.

The administration had filed a petition last year against a GenOn Energy power plant, stating it is responsible for more than 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and other emissions affecting New Jersey residents.

This is the first such single-source 126 Petition the federal agency has granted — the first time it has granted a petition for a power plant bordering another state, the governor’s office stated.

“Now that the decision has been made, it is imperative that we deal promptly with the public health and environmental problems caused by this Pennsylvania facility, which is one of the top five generators of sulfur dioxide among power plants in the nation and which emits more mercury than all of New Jersey‘s coal fired power plants combined,” Christie said.

The N.J. Sierra Club also cheered the decision.

“This is a major victory for clean air as the plant has been polluting our air and impacting our public health for far too long,” Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

“This plant is the largest source of pollution in Northwest New Jersey and now they are going to have to clean it up or close it,” Tittel said.

According to the Sierra Club, emissions from this plant affect children with asthma as far away as Bergen County and people with respiratory illness in Morris County.

In addition to this petition, the state has  two ongoing federal court cases dealing with power plants in western Pennsylvania that it argues pour out huge volumes of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Christie Administration strongly believes modern air pollution controls, including a scrubber, should be installed to substantially reduce emissions. DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said that emissions reductions can be met with existing technology, as is required for New Jersey coal-fired power plants.

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EPA grants N.J. air quality petition regarding Pa. power plant