Christie intervenes in Clean Air Act dispute

Michael P. Tremoglie Feb. 8, 2012, 9:33am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has filed a motion to intervene in a challenge to a federal Clean Air Act permit.

A Pennsylvania power plant's emissions are harming New Jersey's air quality, the N.J. DEP says. The power plant, owned by GenOn Energy, is located in Portland, Pa. The plant releases thousands of tons of pollutants a day into several North Jersey counties, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said.

New Jersey is seeking permission from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to intervene after the power company appealed of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision in the matter. The EPA last year granted a request by DEP, to force the plant, to cut emissions 60 percent by 2013, and by at least 81 percent in three years.

"It is a priority of the Christie Administration to improve air quality in New Jersey and that includes continuing to target out-of-state sources of air pollution," Martin said. "We support EPA in this challenge for the benefit of air quality in New Jersey and for the health of our residents. The amount of emissions coming from the Portland plant is staggering.

"The continuing negative effects on public health cannot be tolerated. We intend to press the courts to force GenOn to meet Clean Air Act requirements."

The N.J. DEP said that in 2010, the plant emitted more than 30,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), plus mercury and other contaminants into the air across the Delaware River and directly onto residents Warren County. It is also detrimental to the air quality in Morris, Sussex and Hunterdon counties, and also Pennsylvania. It pumps out more sulfur dioxide than all of New Jersey's power plants combined.

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