Residents protest approval of power plant in Keasbey

By ALAN KARMIN
Correspondent

A group of concerned citizens attended the Woodbridge Township Council meeting on May 4 to voice concern about, and protest, the board’s approval of a new 630-megawatt gas-fired power plant in the Keasbey section of town.

The plant would be the second of its kind in the township. The CPV Woodbridge Energy Center (CPV Woodbridge) is a 725-megawatt combined-cycle gas power generation facility that began operations in January 2016. The power plant is located on Riverside Drive on the site of an abandoned chemical plant that became the Brownfields Development Area (BDA) in 2009.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Brownfield Remediation and Reuse Element established a BDA initiative in order to work with selected communities affected by multiple brownfield sites to design and implement remediation and reuse plans for the abandoned and unused properties. Benefits included access to various grants from the DEP of up to $5,000,000 per year. With that incentive in mind, and so much abandoned space in the community, township officials identified multiple sites in Keasbey to be considered for such projects of redevelopment, officials said.

According to the activist group EmpowerNJ, the developer’s application indicates that “the plant would pour millions of tons of greenhouse gases and significant quantities of toxic poisonous chemicals every year that will negatively affect the health of residents in Central Jersey and Staten Island.”

A spokesperson for EmpowerNJ who attended the township council meeting said, “We made some progress. Councilman (Gregg) Ficarra requested that the mayor’s administration write a letter to the governor about this matter. We’ll see what the letter actually says.”

Although the plans for the new facility have already been approved by Woodbridge Township, final approvals are yet to be received from the DEP.