Christie Announces Agreement To Improve NJ Air Quality

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TRENTON—Gov. Chris Christie today announced that the Newark community can soon breathe cleaner air as a result of a tentative multi-party agreement that when completed would yield a major commitment by Covanta Energy to install a state-of-the-art particulate emissions control system, called a baghouse, at the Essex County Resource Recovery Facility located in Newark.

“My Administration has worked closely with the Port Authority and Covanta to reach an agreement that ensures Newark residents are able to realize improved air quality,” said Christie. “The installation of these emission controls will further protect public health and the environment and is a huge win in our ongoing efforts to improve New Jersey’s air quality. I commend the Port Authority and Covanta for their efforts to make this happen.”

Christie called on the Port Authority board to approve a proposed 20-year solid waste disposal contract with the New York City Department of Sanitation at its Thursday, March 29 board meeting. Revenue from that contract would, in part, support the cost of emissions controls.

The Essex County Resource Recovery Facility is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which it leases to Covanta Energy under a long-term agreement. The waste to energy facility generates approximately 500,000 megawatt hours per year of electricity from municipal solid waste, while also recycling about 15,000 tons of ferrous metal.

The Christie Administration worked closely with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Covanta to reach the tentative agreement that benefits all stakeholders. One baghouse will be installed on each of the Essex facility’s three units, with all three to be completed by the end of 2016. This is an aggressive timeline for the engineering, design and installation of the baghouses, which will replace the facility’s existing electrostatic precipitators.

Other air quality improvements will also result from the proposed contract between the Port Authority and New York City and will benefit the Newark community, including reduced diesel emissions from the trucks hauling waste to the facility. New York City Department of Sanitation trucks either have the newest and best diesel emissions controls or have been retrofitted with robust controls.

“The Port Authority is committed to fostering sustainable regional economic growth,” said Chairman David Samson. “The proposed agreement would be an excellent outcome for all parties. New York City, Covanta and the Port Authority get the predictability that we value. More importantly, New Jersey residents get the cleaner air that we all value.”

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