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Date : Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:53:57 -0400

For Immediate Release:

October 22, 2012

Contact: Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

* Robert Spiegel, Edison Wetlands Association, 732-841-9375*

Ted Glick,* Green Party of Essex/Passaic Counties, 973-338-5398*




Linden, New Jersey A coalition comprised of 37 environmental and social groups and concerned residents known as the "Stop PurGen Coalition" have announced that their fight to defeat SCS Energy’s proposed coal and carbon sequestration power plant proposal is finally over. Since 2009, the coalition fought the construction of "PurGen," a proposed experimental 750 MW coal and carbon sequestration plant in Linden that would have used a 140-mile long pipeline through New Jersey’s coastal waters to pump liquefied carbon dioxide one mile below the Earth’s surface. SCS wanted to use an unproven technology to burn dirty coal to generate electricity and then use the experimental pipeline to carry the captured carbon dioxide and bury to it into the ocean floor off of the coast of Atlantic City.

The group discovered an announcement on the Massachusetts-based company SCS Energy’s website that stated, "PurGen is no longer under active development." Additionally, the company’s contract with the city of Linden expires this year. This is a momentous victory for the community of Linden, an environmental justice area that is already burdened with excessive pollution. By ceasing this development, the health of Linden residents and the local environment are protected from the dangers that this experiment could have blighted the town and surrounding communities.  This plant was using an unproven technology to promote dirty coal as clean coal. If an accident like a spill or a leak were to happen this would have devastating impacts on the area and our marine ecosystem.

"This is a wonderful victory for the environment over dangerous dirty coal. This is a clear win for grassroots activists over the power of the coal lobby. Stopping this dirty plant will lead to clean energy and green jobs. This not only will protect Linden and surrounding communities from pollution, but dangers of a potential accident. This will protect our oceans and coast from a pipeline and discharge of pollution. This will help move New Jersey forward in the development of wind and solar instead of the fossil foolishness of the past," said* Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.* "This plant was dangerous using unproven technology we did not believe would work as well as being a big waste of money. The cost of this project could have provided around 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind. "

For three years the community members of Linden, environmental organizations from Cape May up to New York City, and elected officials have worked diligently to stop this proposed coal plant. The Coalition spent countless hours canvassing door-to-door educating the residents on the proposal and alerting them to speak out at public hearings and meetings. They also successfully worked with municipalities and counties around the state to pass resolutions in opposition of this plant. Lawn signs were made, pamphlets were distributed, and events were held up and down the coast to raise awareness about this dangerous plant.

"As someone who has worked in the energy sector and on energy projects, the concept of CCS & not emitting CO2 into our atmosphere is one that maybe environmentally sound, but there is still not enough known about the effects that the carbon capture storage would have on our oceans and in our underground geologic formations in the long term," *stated Rebecca Kerins-Tattoli, Stop PurGen Coalition activist. *

Linden is one of five state-designated environmental justice towns due to the high capacity of industrial plants and contaminated sites in the community. Union County has 130,000 residents under the age of 18, and 65,000 ages 65 and above. Among these are 12,000 children with asthma, 32,000 adults with asthma, 13,000 with chronic bronchitis, and 7,000 with emphysema (= 33% of all children and elderly in the county). Thus some 64,000 people in Union County are children with asthma or elderly with chronic bronchitis or emphysema. American Lung Association of New Jersey estimates that about 20,000 Linden residents about half of the City’s total population are younger than 19 or older than 64. If Linden follows the Union County pattern, then 1/3 of these 20,000 people, 6,600 Linden residents, are presently living with asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The PurGen plant would have created new environmental injustices for people who are already burdened with injustices that the state has officially recognized.

"This victory is the first in a long, continuing fight to stop the fossil corporations from burying carbon dioxide beneath the oceans and the land.  The false promise of carbon sequestration is diverting us from real job-creating solutions like energy efficiency and renewable sources of power," said Peter Montague

"Once again, organized people with a just cause won out over big-pocketed, well-connected developers. This is a victory for the people in Linden and surrounding communities but also for all of us in New Jersey who understand the urgent need to end our addiction to coal, oil and gas and move rapidly to a renewable energy based economy," stated *Ted Glick, Chair, Green Party of Essex/Passaic Counties.*

This plant would have cost around $5 billion in public subsidies undermining clean energy programs. With the $5 billion solar panels could have been installed on 175,000 residential roofs, creating 1,350 MW of energy. 450 offshore wind turbines could have been installed producing 1,800 MW of energy.

"This campaign showed that residents who would have been affected by this terrible proposal both in the Linden area and onshore of the proposed sequestration site off Atlantic City can collaborate with the state's environmental groups, and we can all effectively work together. It was a COALition of real collaboration including every major environmental group in the state," said volunteer *Barb Conover of the Stop PurGen COALition. * "There were so many different things wrong with PurGen that motivated the varied activists who volunteered in so many ways. We never even had a chairperson: we focused and worked together to defeat PurGen."

If the plant were constructed during a 30-year operating lifetime it would have been expected to produce 450,000 pounds of arsenic, 480,000 pounds of toxic lead, 14 million pounds of barium, 900,000 pounds of chromium and 1.4 million pounds of manganese. All of this would have been treated on site, before being sent off premise putting the health of the residents of Linden at risk.

"This is both a huge victory for the environment and for the hard-working families in Linden that would have suffered further assaults on their health and quality of life from this pollution plant. In densely populated Linden, which is nearly half minority, this would have added more harm to this already underprivileged urban community by using an experimental carbon sequestration technology," *said Robert Spiegel, Executive Director of Edison Wetlands Association.* "This win demonstrates the ability for environmental groups and the local community members to come together and fight for environmental justice in New Jersey."

The area around the site includes high quality wetlands that are slowly being revived. In Linden’s last ten years, environmental groups have helped to stop proposals for a hazardous waste incinerator, a medical waste incinerator, and a garbage barge transfer site. Now that the coal plant is defeated, the groups will work together to ensure this site is developed with a project that will benefit the community instead of putting them at risk.

For more information, visit: SCS Energy LLC Website link with PurGen Announcement: Stop PurGen COALition community website:<<a>>

A Special thank you to all of those involved: Eric Benson, Beatrice Bernzott, Victoria Bingham, Ada Brunner, Jane Califf, Ted Carrington, Jennifer Chaky, Laura Coll, Barbara Conover, Leigh Davis, Laura Dempsey, Ron De Stefano, Michael Diamond, Matt Elliott, Steven Fenichel, Rachel Dawn Fudim-Davis, Sally Gellert, Ted Glick, Kathy Grandfield, Christine Guhl, Jack Harris, Eric Hausker, Nancy Hedinger, Harold Hollister, Anna Jacus, Angela Jones, Rebecca Kerins-Tattoli, Michael Lindemann, Debbie Mans, Kate Millsaps, Peter Montague, Bruno Oriti, Michael Palmieri, Dana Patterson, Dave Pringle, Michael Puzio, Bettie Reina, Henry Rose, Heather Saffert, Paul Sauers, Georgina Shanley, Nicky Sheats, Grace Sica, Bob Spiegel, Marybeth Strano, Eric Struble, Jeff Tittel, Alicja Trzopek, David Tykulsker, Jim Walsh, Sylvia Weisbrot, Peg Wood, Michael Yellin, David Yennior, Cindy Zipf

Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator
New Jersey Sierra Club
145 W. Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
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Received on 2012-10-22 12:53:57

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