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New Jersey Joins Legal Battle to Clean Up Portland Power Plant

Date : Mon, 6 Feb 2012 16:16:14 -0500

Power Plant

/For Immediate Release/
February 6, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100


*New Jersey Joins Legal Battle to Clean Up Portland Power Plant *

// Today Governor Christie announced that New Jersey will support the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pollution reduction requirements for the Portland Power Station inNorthampton County, Pennsylvania, by becoming a party to the lawsuit.The dirty coal plant's owners, GenOn,have petitioned the EPA to reconsider their decision in October to require the plant to cut dangerous emissions by 81% in the next three years.The Sierra Club, the Clean Air Council, and Greenpeace are also supporting the EPA in the litigation.The pollution reductions were the result of a petition to the EPA by the New Jersey DEP.This plant has been polluting our air and impacting our public health for far too long.Sulfur dioxide levels in Warren County exceed the EPA national air quality standard due to the plants emissions and we need these pollution reductions now so all New Jerseyans can breathe easier.

"We thank the Governor for standing with the Sierra Club and our state's public health. The Portland Generating Station is the largest source of pollution in northwestern New Jersey and this case is important to protect the lungs of the people of New Jersey," *said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club*. "This will be a precedent-setting case in the battle to protect the health and environment of our people" Emissions from this plant affect children with asthma as far away as Bergen County and people with respiratory illness in Morris County.Not only does pollution form this plant affect our air but its mercury and nitrogen emissions pollute our waterways.The quality of life for people in Northern New Jersey will not get better until the plant reduces its emissions. The EPA has also proposed a series of rules that would reduce dirty pollution from power plants, especially pollution from other states.The EPA has proposed a Cross State Air Pollution rule that would help protect air quality in downwind states by limiting the amount of pollution that can be produced in other states.Other proposed rules include regulation of coal ash and reductions in mercury, SoX and NoX emissions from power plants.Without these rules in place the Portland Power Plant would continue to pollute the region.

"We need EPA's Cross State Air Pollution, CARE, and mercury rules to fully clean up the Portland power plant.Without the Cross State Air Pollution rule this dirty coal plant would continue to pollute our air,Now that the Governor is suing on the Portland plant he should join with the ten other states to intervening to support the EPA's Cross State Air Pollution rule as well," *said Jeff Tittel*. According to the report /Toll from Coal/, 531 people in New Jersey die each year from coal related deaths. There are 445 hospitalizations and 987 heart attacks in New Jersey from coal plants.Cleaning up the Portland power plant would reduce the amount of polluted air our lungs have to bear from other states dirty air emissions. EPA data found New Jersey is home to some of the top 20 smoggiest areas in the country.Monmouth and Ocean County is ranked 15^th , Middlesex and Somerset is ranked 17^th , Trenton ranked 20^th , and Camden which is part of the Philadelphia area is ranked 8^th .Even areas where they are not a lot of smoke stacks like Monmouth and Ocean County, still have bad air quality due to cross state pollution. Limiting cross state pollution will not only improve our air quality but will help protect our health and save lives. One-third of New Jersey's pollution comes from out-of-state and the Portland power plant is the largest source of air pollution in Northwest New Jersey. Coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania have been making people in New Jersey sick for far too long, and bringing Pennsylvania's dirty plants under control is long overdue. Residents of New Jersey should not have to sacrifice our health for Pennsylvania's profits or for electricity. By cleaning up or building a new plant with newer cleaner technology we will create jobs in this region not reduce them. We should also be encouraging wind, solar, and other renewable energy rather than continue with these dirty forms of energy. New Jersey petitioned to reduce the pollution coming from the plant under the federal Clean Air Act.State action against the Portland Plant and other dirty coal plants has been ongoing through many administrations and is part of a long-standing commitment by New Jersey to clean up air pollution.Corzine also closed the Martins Creek Coal Plant in Pennsylvania through a lawsuit.

"The Sierra Club is proud to stand with the EPA and New Jersey in defending our environment.This litigation is important not only for the environment but will set precedent that can be used across the country," *said Jeff Tittel*. "This case is important because it will determine if polluters like GenOn can continue to pollute or if the EPA will be able to protect the health and welfare of the people of the United States."

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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