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Limecrest Quarry Plan a Green Scam

Date : Fri, 20 Feb 2009 12:21:59 -0500

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2009 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Chapter Director, (609) 558-9100

The Sierra Club opposes a recent decision by the Sparta Township Council to turn Limecrest Quarry into a pump storage facility. The proposal is not renewable energy, it is a green scam. Instead of providing a source of renewable energy, the project (known as the Riverbank Sparta Energy Center) will endanger the area's water supply and create pollution from the transport of massive quantities of excavated rock.

"The energy created by this project is not considered renewable because it is not sustainable - it actually takes more energy to pump the water up at night than will be reaped when released in the daytime," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "The only thing green about this project is the money that will be made by the developers. It's really more about taking out $250 million worth of rock than it is about creating renewable energy."

The plan will allow the developer to quarry out two massive chambers inside of the mountain, creating an upper reservoir and a lower reservoir. The water will be pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir and released through to generate energy at peak times.

"The owner of the facility will make money because the water is pumped up at night, when it's cheaper, then released in the daytime when they can charge more," Tittel said. "More importantly, this project is going to allow for the quarrying of a mountain, having a direct impact on the Germany Flats aquifer and threatening the water supply for thousands of people in Sparta and the Highlands region."

The giant chambers - each will be the size of a Rockaway Square Mall - will cause all of the groundwater to move towards the chambers, lowering the water table and destroying the Germany Flats aquifer. The rock formations that will be quarried are primarily limestone and believed by the EPA to contain asbestos. "Since a lot of the rock in the area is limestone, it will lead to groundwater contamination because limestone allows pollutants to travel right through it," Tittel said.

While the developers of the project would like to portray the facility as a renewable energy source, in fact, it is a scam that will enable energy garnered from coal-fired plants to be sold for a profit during the day, when energy is more expensive.

To complete this project, more than 1.6 million tons of rock will have to be excavated. That much rock would fill approximately 900,000 dump trucks. In other words, more than 3,300 heavily loaded dump trucks will be on area roads every business day for an entire year. "That many trucks placed bumper to bumper would stretch from Sparta to Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida and back," Tittel said.

A tremendous amount of energy will be used just in the development process of quarrying out the chambers, which will result in greenhouse gas and air pollution. "Remember, the trucks come in empty and go back out full. A project of this scope will generate more than 7,000 truck trips a day, adding significant pollution and traffic gridlock," Tittel said.

Each truck will carry at least 250 to 350 dollars worth of aggregate. "This is a sweetheart deal for the owner, Gene Mulvihill. The people in Sparta should not take down a mountain over a Mulvihill."

This proposal will also help push through the Susquehanna-Roseland power line, which would cut through the Highlands and create an ugly scar throughout the community.

The Sierra Club believes that our focus should be on real renewable energy sources such as wind, solar thermal, and photovoltaic. "That's really where our future should be, not mining a mountain and putting thousands of overloaded dump trucks on the road spewing pollution and causing traffic jams," Tittel said.


Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618


(f) 609.656.7618


Received on 2009-02-20 10:30:02

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at

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