Will West New York oppose Newark power plant?

Community members and environmental activists from across the region oppose the plan

A rendering of the proposed Standby Power Generation Facility
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A rendering of the proposed Standby Power Generation Facility

The governing body of West New York is weighing the passage of a resolution that would condemn a proposed power plant in Newark.

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) is proposing to construct a gas fired power plant in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark. The planned Standby Power Generation Facility (SPGF) was proposed as part of a resiliency project in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to provide backup power to the facility.

Mobilizing against the proposal

Residents and activists have been rallying municipal governments to oppose the plant, as they did with the proposed NJ TransitGrid fracked-gas power plant in Kearny.

In June, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission announced that it plans to reevaluate its current proposal for the power plant at its sewage treatment facility in Newark after community members and environmental activists from across the region opposed the plan.

In Hudson County, Hoboken and Jersey City have passed a similar resolution against the proposed power plant, even after the announcement in June. North Bergen is still weighing the measure.

West New York could be next. Resident Brielle Jeffries proposed the resolution to the West New York Board of Commissioners at its September meeting.

“This seemingly goes against the environmental law that Governor [Phil] Murphy passed last summer,” Jeffries said. “They are looking to build a new gas-fired power plant in Newark. It would be mainly used for power outages.”

Renewable energy alternatives

“We believe they haven’t fully explored how they can use renewable energy for this, and we just want to make Governor Murphy aware,” Jeffries said. “We think the best way is by having as many municipalities sign on to this resolution as possible right now.”

Jeffries presented a resolution she would like to see the council pass at the next meeting.

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez said he has been in touch with the town’s Sustainability Coordinator Rosemarie Suarez.

“I have been in communication with Rosemarie Suarez, who I know you keep in contact with,” Rodriguez said. “She has kept me abreast of everything. I appreciate you working with her. As you know, she is very gung ho on making or keeping West New York greener.”

Continuing the conversation

Rodriguez said that while she is the point person for the town on that, he was interested in continuing the conversation offline.

“I’d love to sit with you and see in what direction this is going,” Rodriguez said. “I have read up a little bit about it. Obviously no one, especially on this Board of Commissioners, is opposed to making our communities greener. I know Commissioner [Yoleisy] Yanez has done many things and has many proposals on making our community greener working with Rosemarie.”

Rodriguez added that he would “consider the conversation and then perhaps a resolution if it fits [West New York] well.” Jeffries agreed to the offline conversation.

If the board passes a resolution, it would be at the next Board of Commissioners meeting on Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are held via Zoom; for more information go to westnewyork.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

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.