State regulators heard from a large number of supporters Wednesday who back a permit which would allow PSEG Nuclear to continue drawing water from the Delaware River to cool its Salem 1 and 2 reactors in Salem County.
 
But not all who attended a hearing held by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection were pleased with the proposed permit — the key point being it does not require cooling towers for the plants — and vowed to take the state to court over the issue.
 
The NJDEP issued a draft New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) Permit June 30 for PSEG Nuclear which would allow the utility to continue to draw about three billion gallons of water a day from the Delaware River for its two plants on Artificial Island in Lower Alloways Creek Township.
 
Environmentalists argue the cooling towers are needed to stop the killing of marine life which dies when caught in the cooling system intakes, but it's been estimated that the towers could cost a total of $1 billion for both plants.
 
Without the permit, the utility couldn't run the plants.
 
Speakers Wednesday pointed to the importance of PSEG Nuclear to the area. They cited jobs — the utility is the county's largest employer — and support of local initiatives.
 
This article was originally written for NJ.com by Bill Gallo, Jr. Read the rest here.

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