NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s mayor against mayor in part of Bergen County, where there’s a proposal to build a power plant.
Just off busy Route 1 & 9 down an industrial part of the Meadowlands is a concrete recycling plant that could soon be transformed into a power plant burning natural gas.
Spokesman Philip Swibinski says North Bergen is all for it.
“To one, generate millions of dollars in annual tax revenue and do it in a way that’s going to have no impact on the community whatsoever,” Swibinski said.
The majority of the 14 surrounding towns in the Meadowlands district, including Ridgefield, disagree.
“It’s all about money here,” Mayor Anthony Suarez said.
Eight towns signed a motion against the North Bergen Liberty generating plant proposal.
“I did do a letter to the governor stating that we’re in opposition to it, and to reconsider,” Suarez said.
The proposed plant wouldn’t even supply energy to New Jersey residents. It would be shipped across the river to New York. There’s already a PSE&G power plant in Ridgefield that supplies north Jersey
“Most importantly, the effects on our health and… our air here already isn’t a great quality,” Suarez said. “It’s gonna be putting more and more CO2 emissions into the air.”
“I’ve seen the statistics about the amount of power this project would create,” Swibinski said. “If you were to try to meet that amount for renewables, that would be impossible. You’d be talking about solar panels the size of Bergen County.”
A spokesperson for the governor says Murphy has directed his team to take a hard look at energy infrastructure projects. He wants the state to use 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Frank Felder, the head of the Rutgers Energy Institute, says the proposed plan seems to be opposite of the direction the state is heading.
“It’s not in the direction that at least New Jersey is going in, which is a much cleaner power grid,” Felder said.
The project is hoping to have permits approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection by the end of 2019 and be operational by 2022.
Advocates for the plant say the proposal would be the cleanest, most efficient facility possible with today’s technology.