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North Bergen opposes Kearny fracked-gas power plant

The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing construction

The Board of Commissioners met via Zoom on Oct. 21.

North Bergen has passed a resolution opposing the construction of the NJ TransitGrid fracked-gas power plant in Kearny.

The Board of Commissioners met virtually via Zoom on Oct. 21 and voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

At the Oct. 7 meeting, environmental groups and residents called for the commissioners to oppose the Kearny power plant following North Bergen’s recent calls to close the PSE&G Bergen Generating Station in Ridgefield.

Opposing fracking in Hudson County

Members of the Food and Water Action Group and Don’t Gas the Meadowlands Committee spoke against the power plants at the Oct. 7 meeting.

“As the climate crisis intensifies, we must rapidly transition off fossil fuels and onto clean energy to protect our health and future,” said Food and Water Action organizer Samantha DiFalco. “So we must work to close down polluting facilities that harm the health of New Jersey residents, we must also prevent the construction and operations of new ones like the 140 megawatts fracked-gas burning power plant that New Jersey Transit has proposed in the nearby Kearny Meadowlands.”

DiFalco urged North Bergen to join 15 other municipalities, including Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, Weehawken, and West New York in opposing the power plant proposed by NJ Transit. The Bayonne City Council may also move to oppose the power plant at the Oct. 21 meeting.

North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco asked for a sample resolution to be sent over, signaling that the commissioners would pass a resolution against the plant. That has now come to fruition as residents lobby more municipalities to oppose the plant.

NJ Transit shifting course?

Bill McLellan, a North Bergen resident, thanked the commissioners for taking a stand against the power plant at the Oct. 21 meeting.

“As Mayor Sacco said, we’re not opposed to the project, we’re just opposed to using fracked-gas to power the trains,” McLellan said.

“This planet is dying because of the burning of fossil fuels. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, this is not a hoax. This is the real thing, and we have very, very few years left before the disaster of climate change really starts to hit us. We can start doing things like powering our trains in our infrastructure with renewable energy. And if we do this, we have a chance.”

Recently, NJ Transit heard calls of environmental advocates and climate activists across the county. On Oct. 16, agency officials held a virtual meeting with residents and activists to go over concerns about the power plant. NJ Transit has formed a program that would stipend $3 million in search of ways to use renewable energy in the TransitGrid project.

However, the measure falls short of ceasing construction of the fracked-gas power plant in Kearny. Sacco urged continued opposition.

“It’s not over,” Sacco said. “They’re still proceeding with it, and we still don’t know how much they’re going to cut back on the plant or what they are going to replace. They’re still not saying they can get rid of the fossil fuels, so it’s important that we continue down this path.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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