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NJ governor opposes 1,200-MW gas plant

The developer of a proposed 1,200-MW natural gas-fired power plant in Northern New Jersey will move forward with the project, even with Gov. Phil Murphy's opposition to the proposal.

Plans to construct the approximately $1.5 billion North Bergen Liberty Generating Project on 15 acres in the Meadowlands in Hudson County, N.J., were announced in April 2018. Diamond Generating Corp. subsidiary North Bergen Liberty Generating said the project would help keep New York City's lights on after the Indian Point nuclear plant closes.

The governor spoke out against project on Oct. 9 during his monthly "Ask Gov. Murphy" radio segment. "I just can't find the justification for building a power plant in the Meadowlands and increasing emissions," Murphy said.

Environmentalists have been pressing Murphy to weigh in on the proposal. The Sierra Club contends the power plant, if built, would be one of the largest sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Northern New Jersey.

Since taking office, Murphy has taken steps to reduce New Jersey's greenhouse gas emissions and move the state to 100% clean energy by 2050.

Murphy said the company is free to go through the application process, but New Jersey residents ought to know that he is "unequivocally against the project."

The governor's comments prompted North Bergen Mayor and State Sen. Nicholas Sacco to issue a statement saying the community will try to find an alternate use for the property.

"While North Bergen was interested in this project because of its potential for substantial new tax revenue and job creation, we have always said we would only want to see it move forward if it met all environmental and safety standards," Sacco said.

North Bergen Liberty Generating in a statement called Murphy's remarks disappointing and said the company intends to move forward with the project.

"It's important to the economic, employment and energy interests of the region and — once again — we underscore that the project will be supportive of all environmental considerations," the company said.

The company in June denied reports that the project is on hold. North Bergen Liberty Generating said it informed the state Department of Environmental Protection that it is adding information to and amending its air permit application to reflect possible technology changes and would pursue engineering, land use requirements, environmental reviews and other permitting and planning.

Diamond Generating is a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corp.