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Western New Jersey

Locals react to President Obama's energy plan

Locals react to President Obama's energy plan

The pros and cons of the president's energy plan are front and center in a rural Northampton County township.

The NRG Portland Generating Station in Upper Mount Bethel Township is already making the switch from coal to a cleaner burning sulfur diesel fuel.

A legal order forced the plant to make the move.

The New Jersey DEP successfully sued the plant several years ago, claiming unsafe levels of emissions were causing numerous health problems for neighboring New Jersey residents including asthma and respiratory failure.

The plant officially pulled the plug on its coal-fired boilers Monday.

Residents of Warren County, New Jersey are celebrating the plant's closing and hope the plan the president unveiled today will address unsafe emissions in other areas of the country.

"I'm glad it's closing. It's not good for the kids. It's not good for us to breathe," said Jessica Neuwirth.

At the same time, the end of coal operations at the Portland plant is leading to dozens of jobs being lost, which is what opponents of the president's plan say will happen at other power plants as a result of the new emission mandates driving up operating costs.

"Going to drive up electricity prices for Pennsylvania residents because we have a disproportional high number of power plants driven by coal," said Senator Pat Toomey.

The Portland generating plant is expected to have its new boiler system online by 2016.

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