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Stop fueling climate change – Help stop the Danskammer gas power plant


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In adopting the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York set an ambitious policy to mitigate climate change.

But one of the first steps in solving a problem is: Stop making the problem worse.

Danskammer power plant

Photo: Giles Ashford

A new fracked-gas power plant at the Danskammer facility, on the banks of the Hudson River in the Town of Newburgh, would clearly make the problem worse. What’s more, we don’t need the power. The New York Independent System Operator determined that New York does not need any additional power generation outside of what is already planned – which does not include Danskammer. The nearby citizens of Newburgh, where the rate of asthma-related emergency room visits is already over twice the state average, certainly don’t need it.

A new report only strengthens the evidence against Danskammer. Prepared for Riverkeeper by Synapse Energy Economics, the report Replacement Energy for Indian Point Energy Center details how wind, solar, and energy efficiency improvements are driving New York’s energy future and rendering fossil fuel plants like Danskammer unnecessary and obsolete.

It is ludicrous to set forth to decarbonize the state’s power grid while simultaneously building new fracked-gas power plants that we do not need.

StopThePlantRight now is a critical time to speak up. You can do so easily by visiting by September 13 and adding a comment saying why this issue matters to you.

Riverkeeper’s dispute with the Danskammer facility goes back decades, to when the original plant used the Hudson River to supply its 1950s-era, single-pass cooling system. The Danskammer facility drew 450 million gallons of water out of the river each day when operating, needlessly killing large numbers of fish and larvae when they were sucked through the plant’s cooling system, crushed against the water intake screens, entrained in the system, or subjected to the heated water at its discharge point. Riverkeeper won that fight, forcing the original Danskammer facility to modernize its antiquated cooling system.

That facility was shut down after it received extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. The facility was then purchased in 2013 by a company that was in the business of buying, demolishing, and scrapping old power plants, and it notified the Public Service Commission (PSC) of its intention to retire the plant permanently. In 2014, the company instead sought and received permission from the PSC to restart the plant as a “peaker plant” – providing backup supply during peak electricity demand periods. The current facility rarely operates.

Danskammer now proposes to construct an entirely new fracked-gas power plant on the same property as the former plant. Riverkeeper opposes this proposal, as the replacement plant is designed to operate most of the time, increasing Danskammer’s annual local emissions of nitrogen oxides by up to 99 tons, volatile organics by up to 56 tons, and particulate matter by up to 79 tons. At a time when New York is committed to transitioning to renewable sources of energy, communities should not be facing new risks from increased localized emissions. On a larger scale, in an era when long-warned-about dangers of climate change are becoming readily apparent, constructing new fracked-gas power plants is sheer folly.

To construct its proposed new plant, Danskammer must receive approvals from two state agencies:

Department of Public Service (DPS)

    • Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need

On March 31, the public provided oral comments to DPS on the proposed Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need. Two more public hearings have now been called by DPS for September 28 and September 29. Sign up to speak and make your voice heard in opposition to Danskammer!

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

    • Stormwater permit
    • Title IV Permit (acid rain)
    • Title V Permit (air emissions)

On August 23 and 25, the public provided oral comments to DEC on the proposed draft permits.

If you have not weighed in on DEC’s upcoming permit decisions or you still have more to say, please do so by September 13. DEC recognized the level of public interest and granted Riverkeeper’s request for a 15-day extension to the comment deadline. Written comments may be sent via the Stop the Plant web page, or:

By U.S. Mail: Michael Higgins, Project Manager
NYSDEC – Division of Environmental Permits
Bureau of Energy Project Management
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1750

By e-mail: [email protected]

If you plan to use the pre-generated comment letter on the Stop the Plant webpage, we encourage you to personalize the subject line and the paragraphs within to reflect your own concerns.

Here is some supporting information you might consider when writing comments:

Section 7(2) of the CLCPA requires state agencies to consider whether their decisions (including permitting) are inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits. Those limits are:

  • by 2030, reduce statewide GHG emissions to 60% of 1990 levels
  • by 2050, reduce statewide GHG emissions to 15% of 1990 levels

The CLCPA established a wide range of goals to help meet those reductions, including:

  • by 2025, procure at least 6 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic solar generation,
  • by 2030,
    • have 70% of the power used in New York come from renewable sources,
    • support 3 GW of statewide energy storage capacity,
  • by 2035, procure at least 9 GW of offshore wind electricity generation,
  • by 2040, have 100% of the New York power grid supplied by zero-emission electricity, and
  • by 2050, achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across New York State’s economy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New York only received 20% of its power from renewable sources in 2020. We need to increase that number from 20% in 2020 to 70% in 2030, which is only 8 years and 3 months away. There are a number of renewable power and battery storage projects already in progress but getting to 70% renewable power will require a lot of movement in a short period of time.

With the proper focus, New York can absolutely meet the goals, objectives, and requirements of the CLCPA. But not if we keep approving brand-new, additional – and completely unnecessary – fracked-gas power plants.

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