Township of Carneys Point v. Chambers Cogeneration, L.P., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Salem County, Docket No. SLM-C-19-15

On December 15, 2015, Judge Anne McDonnell of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, filed an Order preliminarily enjoining Chambers Cogeneration, LP from refusing to make a scheduled payment of $2,497,560 to Carneys Point Township by December 21, 2015. Under a 1991 Host Community Benefit Agreement between Chambers and the Township, Chambers agreed to make annual payments to the Township in order to offset the impacts of Chambers’ construction and operation of a coal-fired electric generating plant in the Township. N.J.S.A. 40:50-16 authorizes Host Community Benefit Agreements between municipalities and electric generating facilities. However, Chambers refused to make the roughly $2.5M payment scheduled for 2015. The withholding of that payment would have resulted in a roughly $5M shortfall in the Township’s 2016 budget of roughly $9M. Consequently, the Township filed an application for an order to show cause (OTSC) why a preliminary injunction should not be issued requiring Chambers to make the payment, and the Court filed the OTSC on December 8, 2015. In support of its request for a preliminary injunction, the Township relied on Waste Mgmt. of New Jersey, Inc. v. Morris County Mun. Utilities Auth. 433 N.J.Super. 445 (App. Div. 2013) in successfully asserting that the public interest involved in the matter, and the interest in preserving the status quo, militated against the court taking a rigid view of the Crowe v. DiGioia factors ordinarily applicable to an application for a preliminary injunction. As required by the preliminary injunction, Chambers made the $2,497,560 payment to Carneys Point on December 21, 2015.