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Feb 26 (Thu), 6:00 pm
New Jersey PennEast Scoping Meeting
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Pearls in the Harbor: Reintroducing the Eastern Oyster to the Hudson-Raritan Estuary

Victory for Clean Air! Portland Power Plant to Close

Date : Wed, 29 Feb 2012 11:11:35 -0500

/For Immediate Release/
February 29, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100


*Victory for Clean Air! Portland Power Plant to Close*

// Today is a huge victory for clean air for the people of New Jersey.GenOn announced they will be closing the Portland Generating Station coal-fired power plant inNorthampton County, Pennsylvania by January 2015.This plant has been impacting the public health and environment of our state for far too long. Sulfur dioxide levels in Warren County exceed the EPA national air quality standard due to the plants emissions and the announcement by GenOn today will help New Jerseyans breathe easier.With advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies we do not need these dirty coal plants.These old plants are not economically feasible because they are not efficient and need subsidies in the form of lax regulations that harm public health to continue to operate.

"This is a victory for our lungs.Closing this dirty coal plant is a major step forward in improving New Jersey's air quality,"***said Jeff Tittel, director, NJ Sierra Club*."This plant is the largest source of pollution in Northwest New Jersey and now the people of New Jersey will be able to breathe easier." Emissions from this plant affect children with asthma as far away as Bergen County and people with respiratory illness in Morris County.With the plant's closing the quality of life for people in Northern New Jersey will get better.This is happening as part of a series of rules proposed by the EPA to reduce dirty pollution from power plants, especially pollution from other states.The agency has proposed a number of regulations to clean up our air and reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants, including the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.Other proposed rules include regulation of coal ash and reductions in mercury, SoX and NoX emissions from power plants.

"We need EPA's Cross State Air Pollution, CARE, and mercury rules to clean up other dirty coal plants in the region.Without the Cross State Air Pollution rule the Portland plant would have continued to pollute our air," *said Jeff Tittel*. In October the EPA required the plant to reduce its toxic air emissions by 81% over the next three years.The EPA decision came after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted a petition calling for the cleanup of the plant based on its toxic air emissions. We have been working to clean up or close this plant for the past 10 years and we thank the EPA for accepting New Jersey's petition on the need to clean up this plant.We thank the Christie administration for continuing to call for the clean up of the plant, leading to today's victory.

"With the plant closing we can now be investing in solar and other green energy technologies.The workers at the plant and others can be trained to work in the green energy sector, the fastest growing job sector in the region," *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 will reduce the amount of polluted airour 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. Clean air would mean a healthy economy, as residents of New Jersey could reduce health costs and sick days, and boost the clean energy sector and green jobs. 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.

"Closing this dirty plant will be a win, win for the people of the region. We will save people money on health care costs from the effects that pollution has on residents and we can invest in clean energy, creating jobs and helping our environment," *said Jeff Tittel*."Beyond just this one plant, we need to support the EPA rules that will require the closing down or cleanup of all the polluting coal plants that impact our air quality."

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-02-29 08:11:35

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