Sierra Club
Sierra Club Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2012
Contact:
Sean Sarah, 202 548-4589, sean.sarah@sierraclub.org


Sierra Club Applauds Decision to Move BL England Off Coal on World Asthma Day
New Jersey Plant Announces It Will Retire Its Coal Boilers

Upper Township, NJ – Today, the BL England coal fired power plant, located near Ocean City, New Jersey, announced that it will retire both of its coal boilers. The nearly 50 year old plant is one of the worst polluters in New Jersey, emitting millions of tons of air pollution and exposing residents of South Jersey to dangerous toxins which are linked to cardiovascular disease, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. While the owners of the plant have not yet laid out a timeline for transitioning the plant off of coal, BL England was required to meet state air pollution limits by today, May 1st, and failed to do so.

“We applaud the decision to end coal fired power at BL England,” said Christine Guhl, Sierra Club Field Organizer. “The plant produces millions of tons of pollution every year and is contributing to the health woes of many in South Jersey. While we’re glad that the plant has decided to move beyond coal, natural gas isn’t a long term answer to New Jersey’s energy needs. We are ready for, and deserve, a clean energy future.”

Communities in the region have been organizing opposition to the plant in recent months. Ocean City recently passed a municipal resolution that BL England be given no further extensions of time to comply with air pollution limits. Further, nearly 6,000 South Jersey residents signed a petition calling on Governor Christie to retire the BL England coal plant. Those petitions were delivered today, World Asthma Day, at the state house in Trenton.

Dr. Stanley H. Weiss, Professor of Preventative Medicine and Community Health, UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School, has conducted research on the effects of air pollution on New Jersey residents. “In order to reduce asthma incidence in New Jersey it is important for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s air quality protections to be implemented right away,” Dr. Weiss said.

Until the switch away from coal is made, the Sierra Club will still seek DEP enforcement of air quality standards and insist that fines for air pollution violations be levied. BL England is the dirtiest power plant in New Jersey with pollution far above what is considered safe for local residents. It is one of New Jersey’s largest emitters of carbon.

"This is great news for the people of New Jersey and another important victory for the Beyond Coal Campaign. We are clearly witnessing the end of our dependency on coal and the move toward a cleaner energy future," said Mike Bloomberg, whose Bloomberg Philanthropies has contributed $50 million to the Beyond Coal Campaign.

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