JERSEY CITY, NJ - While severe weather kept them from getting together in person, local residents and political leaders joined environmentalists and climate activists for a virtual rally Monday to voice their opposition to a fracked gas power plant that NJ Transit has proposed in Kearny.
NJ Transit is seeking to use Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to build the new fracked gas power plant, claiming that it would be used to power the system's trains. A grassroots opposition campaign has seen coordinated outreach to directly impacted communities, with Monday’s rally another effort to halt the project.
Citing the seventh anniversary of the deadly Lac-Megantic derailment and crude oil explosion in Canada, even if as an “extreme example” as Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg called it, the tragedy that claimed 47 lives is “an apt metaphor for the destruction we could expect from a new gas power plant.”
Building from Weinberg’s urging to maintain a strong “fight” to protect air, water, and ecological heritage, Jersey City Councilmember Mira Prinz-Arey added that “we should be moving forward, not backwards, when it comes to innovation and ways we can use clean energy and green infrastructure. We should set an example for the rest of the state to say that yes, we can power our railway systems with clean renewable energy.”
“Governor Murphy cannot have it both ways. If he is serious about climate action and building New Jersey’s clean energy future, he must stop dirty energy projects like the NJ Transit fracked gas power plant,” said Food & Water Action organizer Sam DiFalco. “There is no way to meet his administration’s own clean energy goals if he approves new sources of climate pollution. And this plant presents a direct threat to clean air in environmental justice communities that already suffer from poor air quality. If Governor Murphy means what he says about climate leadership and environmental justice, then he must stop this dirty power plant.”
Striking a blow at NJ Transit for frequent travel delays, Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club offered his thought that the transportation agency can not be trusted to manage the facility safely. “NJ Transit cannot run their trains, how are they going to run a power plant, it makes no sense.” Tittle also disputed claims that the project will be cleaner than using electricity from the grid saying they are “false.”
Striking an even more concerned tone was Paula Rogovin of the Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains who said that the derailment of a train carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) to the plant would “be equivalent to the power of a Hiroshima bomb.”
“Governor Murphy must immediately reject the NJ Transit Power Plant which would drastically impact health and lives.”
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