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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE: 1/24/02
02/9

CONTACT: Amy Collings, DEP (609) 984-1795
or Roger Shatzkin, L&PS 609-292-4791

CONSENT DECREE WITH PSEG FOSSIL INC. TO ACHIEVE SIGNIFICANT CLEAN AIR BENEFITS

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and Acting Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced that the state and federal authorities have entered into a consent decree with PSEG Fossil Inc. that requires the company to install more than $300 million in new pollution controls at its Jersey City (Hudson County) and Hamilton Township (Mercer County) power plants that will reduce major emissions by more than 80 percent. In addition, PSEG will spend $400 million to complete the repowering from coal to natural gas of its Bergen County plant in Ridgefield Park.

The company must also pay a civil penalty of $1.4 million and spend at least $6 million on three additional projects that also will improve air quality in New Jersey.

The settlement, filed today in the U.S. District Court in Newark, is the result of federal and state allegations that the company modified its plants in Hudson and Mercer counties and constructed its Bergen plant without first obtaining permits required under the New Source Review program of the Clean Air Act and the New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act. It was signed by the U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state officials and PSEG Fossil. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

"While New Jersey's air will benefit from this settlement, we need strong enforcement of clean air standards in upwind states to fully protect New Jersey citizens," said Campbell. "We remain very concerned about a possible weakening of clean air standards now under consideration at EPA."

"This consent decree represents a very significant step in New Jersey's efforts to control air pollution from in-state sources," said Acting Attorney General Harvey. "At the same time we are aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against upwind sources of pollution to force out-of-state coal-fired power plants to install similar state-of-the-art pollution controls to achieve long lasting improvements in New Jersey's air quality."

When the new pollution controls are installed, the company's combined emissions from all its New Jersey facilities of sulfur dioxide (SO2) will drop approximately 90 percent, and its emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) will decrease by about 80 percent. These decreases represent about 30 percent of all the SO2 and 20 percent of all the NOx emitted annually from plants, factories and other stationary pollution sources in New Jersey.

The new state-of-the-art controls to be installed at the Jersey City and Hamilton Township facilities include scrubbers and selective catalytic reduction systems, as well as a device to eliminate more than 1,000 tons per year of particulate matter. The new controls and upgrades will be phased in beginning this year, with all work completed by 2012.

The terms of the settlement also require the company to undertake three projects to improve air quality. These include efforts to reduce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, by 15 percent; development of technology to monitor and reduce mercury emissions from its plants, and efforts to assist the state in recovering methane gas, also a greenhouse gas, from landfills.

 

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