Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
DEC, which Andrew Cuomo controls in its entirety, is under court order to process the already operating CPV Valley Energy Center’s air quality permits.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to stop a fully built, brand new natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County from going operational last year by instructing his Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny renewing an air permit it had approved just five years earlier. Fortunately, a judge stepped in to prevent the DEC from shutting down the now-operational Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) 680-megawatt Valley Energy Center in Wawayanda. The judge’s action, in February, forced the DEC to allow CPV to submit new air permit applications, allowing the plant to operate in the meantime.
CPV filed the required new paperwork and on Wednesday the DEC announced the applications for a “Title V” and “Title IV” air permits for Valley Energy Center are “complete” and will now be evaluated. As part of the evaluation process, the DEC is seeking public comments over the next 45 days.
The DEC will hold a single public hearing (date and location to be announced), commonly known as a circus freak show. Antis are already up on their high horses, planning to smear and lie about the plant. They want to shut it down, even though the electricity it generates is clean and green and helps replace electricity that will soon be lost when the nearby Indian Point Nuclear plant closes. Here’s WAMC radio’s analysis (emphasis added):
The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation has deemed an Orange County power plant’s air permit applications complete, and a public comment period has begun. Plant opponents say the CPV plant should never have been allowed to operate in the first place.
The DEC on Wednesday released the draft permits for a 45-day public comment period. A DEC spokesperson says the agency has conducted its initial review of Competitive Power Ventures Valley Energy Center’s Title V and Title IV air permit applications and determined that these applications are complete and that the draft permits are ready for public notice and comment. First-term New York state Senator Jen Metzger of the 42nd District, a Democrat, says she remains deeply concerned about the 680-megawatt natural gas power plant that has been operational since fall 2018.
“The application being complete and the application being accepted are two different things,” Metzger says. “And it’s important, I see this as a really important opportunity, now that it is complete, to get more public input into this project.”
DEC staff in August denied CPV’s request to renew its Air State Facility permit, citing the permit had failed to meet current? regulatory requirements, and held two same-day public hearings in Goshen on its denial. Now, in addition to the public comment period, DEC will hold a public hearing, which longtime CPV plant opponent and Protect Orange County chair Pramilla Malick hopes is near the Wawayanda plant.
“Yeah, we absolutely insist on the City of Middletown for a location for a public hearing because that is where the highest density of impacted residents live,” says Malick. “And the last public hearing that the DEC held was in Goshen. It was extremely difficult for impacted residents to get there. It is not, there is no public transportation there.”
DEC has not yet decided on a date or location. Tom Rumsey is senior vice president for external affairs for CPV. In a statement, he says, “As the regulatory process moves forward, we will continue to work with regulators and policy makers at every level of government and take great pride in the role we play lowering emissions, improving reliability, and helping New York meet its green energy goals.” Again, Metzger.
“This is, continues to be a huge concern in our district,” says Metzger. “And we did do this health impact study. We had nearly 80 respondents reporting various health problems that could be associated with the power plant. We’re very concerned about that. We’ve shared that data with the DEC commissioner and the commissioner of health, and we’ll be submitting it as part of the formal record during the hearing as well.”
She says the most frequent issues reported were chronic headaches and cough. Malick, who ran against Metzger in the Democratic primary for Senate, says her group did its own study documenting more than double the number in Metzger’s study of sick people. Malick wants the state Department of Health to conduct a health impact assessment. In a joint response, DEC and DOH say they are reviewing the survey data collected by a local group as well as from Metzger’s office, and say community members may direct their health concerns to the health department at 518-402-7500. Meantime, DEC says it continues to maintain a presence at the facility and rigorously monitors all operations to protect public health and the environment, and will bring swift enforcement action if violations are detected. Again, Malick.
“This power plant should never have been allowed to operate in the first place. They should never have received a single permit,” Malick says. “So we will, once again, engage in the process and hope that regulatory officials and political leaders do the right thing this time for the people of Orange County and for the planet.”
Metzger pans out to a broader energy context
“Fossil fuel generation is yesterday’s solution,” Metzger says. “It is really going backwards and we really need to move forward and shift away from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy…
That last line in the article above says it all. Opposition to the plant by people like Metzger is not about air emissions. It’s about an irrational hatred of all fossil fuels. We maintain natural gas is today AND tomorrow’s fuel. It is the destination–not a bridge–to a marvelous future.
Editor’s Note: There are several points to be gleaned here:
- Cuomo is still on pander auto-pilot and isn’t going to approve anything except on court order. It’s the cover for the pandering. He wants the power and the anti-gas street cred.
- Cuomo also needs cover for his own administration’s corrupt record on this project, his “brother” Joe Percoco having now been convicted of using it as an opportunity for graft.
- State Senator Metzger is using her opposition as protection against another Priscilla Malick run at her job.
- The idea that an existing, already operating and already otherwise permitted, natural gas power plant should be shut down because “fossil fuel generation is yesterday’s solution,” is so far beyond the pale as to be recklessly irresponsible. It’s conveys the absolute fantasy worls in which fractivists and their pandering sympathizers reside.
- The health claims of both Metzger and Malick (“chronic headaches and cough” symptoms) sound like a resurrected “Listed of the Harmed” litany of phony sounding and undocumented excuses that somehow always accompany the scare tactics of fractivists. They exude fibbery.
- The righteous claim that the hearing should be held in Middletown rather than Goshen, which is 5-6 miles away and the county seat is as ludicrous as everything else connected with this fiasco. The nearest neighbors are all commercial or single-family residential, neither of which depend on public transportation.
All in all, it’s hard to a more surreal situation. Both New York and fractivism have gone completely berserk.
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.