Air Pollution Reduction

Our Initiatives

Newark Incinerator (Newark Bay)

The Newark Incinerator is located in the Ironbound section of Newark.  It receives hauled garbage from several communities in New Jersey and approximately 1,700 tons per day from New York City.  Working with the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), New Jersey Environmental Federation, and GreenFaith, Inc., EELC started its advocacy around the incinerator by drafting comments for the ICC and several other northern NJ environmental justice groups challenging New York City’s plan to increase the waste and truck traffic at the incinerator.  In 2005 and 2007, EELC filed notices of intent to sue Covanta Energy, the owners, and DEP for noncompliance with the Clean Air Act.  The lawsuit was settled in 2010 and the settlement agreement provides that the operator of the incinerator will install pollution control technology and take measures to limit the amount of mercury and other toxic substances that are burned by the incinerator.  As part of this settlement, the operator of the incinerator also agreed to contribute $875,000 towards purchasing park equipment for a new riverfront park that is planned for the Ironbound section of Newark.  Additionally, EELC discovered that during settlement discussion last year, Covanta sought and obtained a new permit with fewer protections against emissions and that DEP ignored any permitting public process requirements.  EELC petitioned to the USEPA to reopen the permit and allow for public comment, and USEPA ordered DEP to reopen and hold public hearings.  The public outcry about particulate matter, lead, and other emissions was immense and the City Council for the City of Newark passed a resolution which requested tighter emissions controls at the facility.

Ports of Newark and Elizabeth (Newark Bay)

EELC is working with the Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHPs), an alliance of environmental, labor, community, and faith-based groups, in order to advocate for changes in the operations at the Ports of Newark and Elizabeth.  Whereas an average oil refinery emits approximately 0.3 tons of nitrogen oxides and particulates daily, the ports of NY and NJ emit 1.1 tons of these pollutants each day, making them a significant hazard to the natural environment and community health.  Beginning in January 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey banned trucks built before 1994 from entering the port facilities and provided loans to operators for new trucks under its Clean Trucks Program.  EELC is currently assisting CHPs in its efforts to obtain information from the Port Authority about the effectiveness of the program.  EELC is also representing CHPs in advocating for a full environmental impact review of the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, as the project will have significant implications for the air quality in surrounding areas.