Environmental regulators say Revel portable generators have to be replaced with cleaner ones

Markets Associated Press

Not even Plan B to provide power at Atlantic City's former Revel casino appears to be working.

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New owner Glenn Straub has been unable to reach a deal with the power plant that is the building's sole source of utility service, and the company cut the power days after he took over. He hired three portable generator trucks Tuesday and prepared to connect them to the building or the now-quiet power plant.

But Wednesday, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sent inspectors to check out the generators, and they didn't like what they saw. Spokesman Larry Hajna said the older units probably would violate federal Clean Air Act standards, and the department suggested Straub look for smaller, newer ones that meet the standards.

"We don't believe they will comply with the federal Clean Air Act standards," he said. "We've been working with (Straub) to find an alternative source of backup generators, maybe bringing in smaller generators that do comply with federal standards."

Meanwhile, the city is fining Straub $5,000 for each day the power is off at Revel, saying it violates fire safety codes that mandate that fire detection and suppression systems be operative. The fire department warned in February that without water flowing through the building's pipes and electricity to get firefighters to upper floors, firefighting efforts at the 47-story building would be next to impossible.

At 710 feet, Revel is the second-tallest building in New Jersey. Goldman Sachs offices in Jersey City are 781-feet tall.

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Straub acknowledged the emergency situation created by the power shutdown last Friday. But he said every day dealing with the issue is one not spent getting the casino ready to reopen by summer.

"Government regulations are holding us back from working on more important problems, like bringing back employees," the Florida developer told The Associated Press.

Revel shut down Sept. 2 after just over two years of operation, during which it never turned a profit. Straub bought it for $82 million out of bankruptcy court, or about 4 cents on the dollar.

He is embroiled in a court battle with the utility company, ACR Energy Partners, which wants a judge to order Straub to buy the plant at fair market value. ACR also wants a court order barring Straub from using or connecting to any ACR electrical equipment, some of which is intertwined with the internal workings of Revel itself.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC