JERSEY CITY – As Hurricane Sandy’s one year anniversary approaches, a new report from Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center finds that even as New Jersey works to cut carbon pollution and transition to clean energy, power plants remain the single largest source of carbon pollution across the nation. Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations, unless we cut the dangerous carbon pollution fueling the problem.
“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” said Dan DeRosa, field organizer for Environment New Jersey. “If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For New Jersey and America, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”
The report, titled, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from New Jersey’s power sector and ranks New Jersey’s biggest carbon polluters, and shows that New Jersey’s power plants emit as much as carbon pollution as 3.7 million cars.
“In New Jersey, we know firsthand global warming’s devastating effects. Last year, Superstorm Sandy was made stronger by warmer ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, and even the unusual and destructive path of the storm was influenced by climate change. While climate change is a global problem, I consider it a very important local issue for New Jersey,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who helped lead the fight for federal Sandy relief.
Key findings from the report include:
- In New Jersey, the top five most polluting power plants are:
- PSEG’s Bergen Generating Station in Ridgefield which puts out 2,457,012 metric tons of carbon pollution each year.
- PSEG’s Linden Generating Station in Linden which puts out 2,128,157 metric tons of carbon pollution each year
- Red Oak Power LLC in Sayreville which puts out 1,927,460 metric tons of carbon pollution each year
- PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station right here in Jersey City puts out 1,760,636 metric tons of carbon pollution each year
- Cogen Technologies’ Linden Cogen Plant in Linden puts out 1,601,186 metric tons of carbon pollution each year
- The five most polluting power plants in New Jersey represent 65% of our power plant emissions, but only 35% of the energy generated.
- America’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution – responsible for 40 percent of emissions nationwide.
- The most carbon-polluting power plant in the nation – Georgia Power Company’s Scherer Plant – emits as much carbon pollution as 4.4 million cars.
This summer, President Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, the EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20. Americans have submitted 3.2 million public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.
“The time to act is now. We must support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to combat global warming including their work to develop carbon pollution limits for both new and existing plants,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. “We also should act legislatively to renew and improve incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency and put a price on carbon so polluters pay for the damage they cause to our environment.”
While nine northeast states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) announced efforts to make deeper cuts in power plant carbon emissions this spring, New Jersey sits on the sidelines as Governor Chris Christie has pulled our state out of the program.
“Chris Christie claims he acted in the name of fiscal responsibility in pulling out of RGGI, but the fact of the matter is that sustaining our environment and advancing our economy can go hand in hand. New Jersey should be leading the nation in efforts to reduce pollution. I will continue to advocate for a comprehensive approach to the most urgent environmental challenge of our time,” said state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex).
Environment New Jersey has filed suit against Gov. Christie for his decision to pull New Jersey out of the RGGI program. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene, New Jersey should be leading—not obstructing –efforts to reduce the pollution that is altering our climate. Governor Christie and New Jersey should rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Program, and lead the way in cutting pollution that makes severe storms like Sandy more likely in the future.
“Hurricane Sandy showed us that all coastal communities in New Jersey are threatened by global warming, including urban communities like Hoboken. This is why it is so important that we continue to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” said Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-Hudosn). “As a co-sponsor of the legislation to keep New Jersey in this critical partnership, I will continue to work to ensure that we are doing our part to help lessen our state’s impact on the global environment.”
“Hurricane Sandy and the extreme weather we have suffered through over the last two years are a frightening reminder of why we must do everything we can to cut the dangerous carbon pollution that is fueling global warming, and lessen the threat of even worse extreme weather in the future,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “The time to act on climate is now.”
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