Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
LEADING POLITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION OPTIMISTIC THAT NJ TRANSIT “TRANSITGRID” MICROGRID PROJECT WILL CONSIDER RENEWABLES FOR PROJECT
TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is optimistic that NJ Transit is exploring cleaner energy solutions for the proposed “Transitgrid” Microgrid project. Previously, New Jersey LCV urged Governor Murphy and the NJ Transit Board of Directors to push the pause button on plans to build a transitgrid microgrid and gas-fired power plant in Kearny to power NJ Transit facilities that would provide transportation between and within Northeastern New Jersey and New York City.
New Jersey LCV believes that despite the good intentions of the project, burning gas and increasing pollution would be a step backward and out of line with New Jersey’s current economic and environmental vision that calls for a cleaner, more sustainable, fairer and stronger future.
Patty Cronheim, Campaigns Director, New Jersey LCV provided testimony today at the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors meeting regarding the project. New Jersey LCV is pleased that the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors listened to feedback and plans to hire a renewable energy consultant and solicit clean energy bids before moving forward with a plan to construct the transitgrid microgrid that will predominantly burn fossil fuels.
“While we are encouraged that NJ Transit is establishing a bidding process that incentivizes alternative energy solutions as a replacement to the original gas fired plant plan, we are not certain the current projects’ previously determined need is warranted,” said Cronheim. “We urge the Board to start over and conduct an independent needs analysis that is built on and supports its’ new goals for a clean energy project.”
The plant would release roughly 571,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year in Hudson County, which already receives an “F’ rating from the American Lung Association for ground level ozone pollution in overburdened communities. By keeping this permit alive, it falls under outdated rules that will allow it to spew more toxins into the air. The project also avoids the newly signed Cumulative Impacts Bill designed to protect Environmental Justice communities as well as the bill that requires the state to use a 20-year time horizon to evaluate the impacts of greenhouse gases such as methane.
“As a state agency, NJ Transit should meet the highest current level protection for its citizens under the law. By withdrawing all permits and redesigning the project from the ground up to ensure renewables can succeed, NJ Transit can show it’s serious about its commitment to clean energy,” added Cronheim.
New Jersey LCV will continue to monitor the outcome of this project, and is optimistic about the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors’ decision today to consider renewables. The hope is that this will lead to a project that works for NJ Transit, but also protects the health and safety of nearby residents who should not have to breathe polluted air from a fossil fuel power plant.
“TransitGrid 2.0 needs to be more than a good faith effort to develop a clean and renewable alternative—you need to hit it out of the park—there is no room for a dirty carbon burning hybrid model or half measures,” concluded Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.