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NY climate groups encouraged by DEC’s call for comments on power plant applications that defy climate law

New York City; Newburgh, NY – New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said on Wednesday that two proposed fracked gas power plants — Astoria NRG in Queens and Danskammer in Newburgh, Orange County — appear to be “inconsistent with or would interfere with the attainment of the Statewide GHG emission limits” established in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

The DEC also announced a 60-day public comment period for the proposed fracked gas power plants, with Commissioner Basil Seggos tweeting out that the DEC is looking for comments on the plants’ compliance with the CLCPA.

The No Astoria NRG Plant Coalition, which is organized by by NYC DSA, Food & Water Watch, Sane Energy Project, Queens Climate Project, NYPIRG, Sierra Club, New York Communities for Change and 350Brooklyn, released the following statement:

“We are heartened to see the DEC question how a dirty fracked gas power plant can comply with state climate law. It’s a sign that the people-led movement against new fossil fuel infrastructure here in New York City and across the state is winning. Hundreds of Astoria residents took to the street last summer to march against the power plant and will no doubt show up again in big numbers at any public hearing and submit thousands of public comments. We are seeing the devastating consequences of climate change today, and any new fracked gas project being proposed or approved in 2021, when we have viable alternatives — including transmission upgrades that eliminate any reliability need for a new Astoria plant — is a dangerous exercise in climate denial. We stand in solidarity with those fighting the Danskammer power plant in Newburgh, and the Gowanus plant in Sunset Park. We renew our call on Governor Cuomo and the DEC to stop this dangerous proposal.”

Public comments on the NRG Astoria Gas Turbines are due on August 29 and can be submitted through the No Astoria NRG Plant coalition.

Members of the Stop Danskammer Coalition, whose steering committee includes Newburgh Clean Water Project, Scenic Hudson, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Orange RAPP, Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Riverkeeper and NYPIRG said:

“Together with the members of the No NRG Astoria coalition, we’re confident that the DEC is correct: These new power plants are clearly incompatible with New York’s emissions goals and the state’s commitment to transitioning to clean energy. Moreover, they are totally unnecessary. The new Danskammer plant would increase greenhouse gas emissions in the Hudson Valley by up to 4,000%. This violates our state’s bold climate law. In addition, the disproportionate impacts this plant would impose on marginalized communities in the City of Newburgh are wholly unjustifiable. Our air quality has suffered enough. The DEC and Governor Cuomo should move quickly to stop the Danskammer plant and protect our Hudson Valley, and to similarly halt NRG’s polluting Astoria proposal.”

Public comments on the Danskammer plant are also due by August 29 and can be submitted by email to [email protected] or through the website.

“The DEC stated that NRG’s proposal is incompatible with our climate laws. Thousands of Astorians and NYers across the state have been demanding this proposal be rejected because we know that new fossil fuel plants come at the cost of planet and our lives. NYS cannot allow companies like NRG to disregard our laws and our neighbors by building a fracked gas peaker plant in 2021. DEC must reject the new NRG plant.” said Assembly Member Zohran K. Mamdani

For far too long communities like Astoria and Newburgh have suffered due to air pollution and illness from the fossil fuel burning plants. After a year of hundreds of community activists and residents raising their voices, those closest to the pain are finally being heard. The fight is far from over, and I commend Commissioner Seggos and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for taking a second look at these proposals and a stand for our planet and our communities,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.

Hayley Carlock, 845-891-3148, [email protected]
Lee Ziesche, 954-415-6228, [email protected]

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