Paul Milo: Newark Energy Center Vote Postponed; $23 Million in Limbo
The national debate about pollution and climate change played out in microcosm during a special meeting of the Newark Municipal Council Wednesday night, when environmentalists squared off against citizens favoring more development and the jobs it would bring.
“In my opinion, the goodies they’re giving mask the effects of the plant. It’s 30 pieces of silver,” said West Ward Councilman Ron Rice.
Construction of the plant is already approved by the council; this is an implementation detail.
Detractors are attempting to use it as leverage against Hess for further concessions, but it’s not a very long lever: Hess will reroute lines through Kearny if the council declines to approve this measure.
$11 Million Riding on Council Vote
The council will be voting next month on a change near the site of the coming Hess “Newark Energy Center,” which will net the city a lump payment of $11 million from the energy company.
Great reporting by Paul Milo at Newark Patch details the sense of unease associated with the unpopular but lucrative plant planned for the East Ward.
Hess has also offered a much better deal to the city than other major developers have in the past, Amador added. Along with the $11 million easement payment, the city will get another $3.5 million advance property-tax type payment, $1.5 million for street trees, $5 million to renovate a stadium in the Ironbound, along with the regular “payment in lieu of taxes” the facility will turn over to the city annually once it’s operating.
But even Amador still has reservations. Earlier this week, Hess asked the planning board for additional time to submit final site plans for the Newark Energy Center. The company is also asking that a sound barrier originally included in the plan be scrapped. Amador opposes both requests.