LINDEN – In the end, it came down to economics. The promise of $2.5 million in structured payments and 150 permanent jobs influenced Linden’s City Council to clear legal obstacles to a coal power plant that would be built in the city.
Earlier this week, the council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding to resolve litigation over development rights to a 106-acre property on the banks of the Arthur Kill, which the city had tried to condemn for a redevelopment plan in 2005.
PurGen can now pursue permits to build a $5 billion, 500-megawatt electrical power plant using “clean-energy” technology. Coal will be pressurized, rather than burned as in other power plants, and the carbon-dioxide exhaust will be piped 100 miles for storage under the Atlantic Ocean.
In October, the council rejected a similar settlement plan that lacked the cash payments. The new deal also requires the developer to pay for city-hired consultants to monitor the project.
“The original deal didn’t have checks and balances,” explained Councilman Robert Frazier.
“We’re pleased to work with the council to address their concerns and we’re looking forward to New Jersey being the host of an important climate change solution,” said attorney Bradley Campbell, New Jersey’s former Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, who is representing PurGen.
Several environmental groups oppose the project, but a number of vocal union members attended the council meeting to show their support.
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