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PSC seeks input on power plant; Facility opposed by fracking, compressor foes

This is an artist’s rendering of a gas-fired power plant to be located in the Town of Wawayanda in Orange County, NY.
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
February 19, 2014

TOWN OF WAWAYANDA, NY — A company called Competitive Power Ventures Valley (CPV Valley) is seeking to build a gas-fired power plant that will generate enough power to supply more than 650,000 homes and provide what the company calls “a growing demand for power and need for increased reliability in the lower Hudson Valley.”

The company promotes the facility as being state of the art and says, “It will be one of the cleanest conventional electric generating projects in the world when it comes on-line in 2016.”

But there are a number of people and organizations who are familiar with the world of gas infrastructure who say the facility is not needed.

Some of those people will undoubtedly turn out to the public hearing on the matter to be held by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) on Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Orange County Community College Library/Gilman Center, Room 130, in Middletown.

Before the PSC allows the project to move forward, it must determine whether the facility is necessary and convenient for the public.

CPV Valley says the project is not only necessary, but it’s good for the economy because it puts New Yorkers “back to work.” The company also says it’s friendly to the environment. It says the “dry-cooling design saves more than 85%of the water used by similar wet-cooled facilities. The water the project does require will come from recycled water it purchases from the City of Middletown.”

But others dispute that. Manna Jo Greene, environmental action director of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., wrote a letter to Middletown mayor Joe DeStefano in May 2013 that experts like Dr. Anthony Ingraffea and Dr. Jannette M. Barth, who have been active in the campaign against fracking, and others, “conclude that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York’s energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight at significant savings in human lives and infrastructure as well as decreased greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and damages caused by the resultant climate change and extreme weather. Given this, CPV’s claim to ‘clean energy’ production is unsubstantiated.”

The letter continued: “CPV’s reliance on hydrofracked natural gas delivered to the proposed power plant by means of the Millennium Pipeline and the Minisink Compressor Station, which both pose additional health and safety risks as well as property devaluation and harm to the environment, will increase and prolong our dependence on fossil fuels, which will ultimately result in great human, environmental and economic costs.”