New York — Earlier this month, Danskammer Energy, LLC filed a request for an adjudicatory hearing on the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s denial of their Title V Air Permit. Despite Governor Hochul’s Department of Environmental Conservation's firm stance against the construction of fracked gas plants in both Newburgh and Astoria this past October, Danskammer and their lawyers feel that their profit is paramount to the standards promulgated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (CLCPA).
As DEC noted in the Title V air permit denial for the proposed Danskammer fracked gas plant expansion, if approved, Danskammer’s project would be projected to emit significant climate warming pollution - between 1.5 to 2.5 million short tons of carbon dioxide per year in 2030. This stands in stark opposition to the CLCPA’s required emission reductions, and would do significant harm to New York residents and the achievement of New York’s climate goals. As the DEC stated, “to achieve the State’s climate change and clean energy policies as outlined in the CLCPA, the State needs to continue to accelerate its ongoing transition away from natural gas and other fossil fuels. Constructing and operating a new fossil fuel-fired power plant accomplishes the exact opposite and perpetuates a reliance on fossil fuels” (Danskammer Title V Decision Letter, 10.27.21, page 9).
During the public comment period this fall, thousands of area residents and activists provided overwhelming opposition to the plant. Over 4,500 comments were submitted to the DEC regarding the approval of Danskammer’s permit. At a key public hearing, over 90% of the 175 speakers in attendance testified against Danskammer.
The Stop Danskammer Coalition and its allies are confident that the DEC will uphold its decision, setting forth an important precedent for not only New York State but the rest of the country and world: the transition to renewable energy is now. The Stop Danskammer Coalition will continue to fight this appeal in the best interest of Hudson Valley residents and the rest of New York State.
“The City of Newburgh has already been forced to shoulder too many toxic burdens, from lead in our paint and water pipes, to PFAS in our local water source. Our childhood asthma rate is already 3 times the New York State average. The DEC’s decision to protect our community of color from the sharp increase in air pollutants which would accompany this unnecessary plant expansion was clearly mandated by the community protection standards of the CLCPA,” said Tamsin Hollo, Newburgh Clean Water Project. “We’re grateful that the huge public outcry opposing the plant was heard, and we’re confident that the DEC and Governor Hochul will stand by their clear judgment that this plant is not in the best interests of the people of NY.”
“Between catastrophic extreme weather events brought on by climate change, and the lackluster outcome of COP26, it’s up to our leaders here to uphold our state climate law,” said Jess Mullen, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition Chairperson. “This means standing strong in the decision against new fossil fuel plants like Danskammer.”
“New fracked gas plants have no place in New York with the passage of the CLCPA, and the DEC’s denial of Danskammer’s air permit demonstrated the state’s commitment to upholding the law and protecting the Hudson Valley from unnecessary, unjustified air and climate pollution,” said Allison Considine, NY Campaign Representative, Sierra Club. “Danskammer’s appeal will continue to be met with opposition from community and climate advocates, and Sierra Club is confident that Danskammer’s appeal is without merit.”
“The state’s decision on Danskammer was crystal clear — the age of fracked gas power plants in New York is over,” said Emily Skydel, Food & Water Watch Hudson Valley Organizer. “The DEC’s precedent-setting decision to deny Danskammer its required pollution permits is a watershed moment in New York’s climate history. We are confident that the agency’s decision will be upheld, in line with the CLCPA and Governor Hochul’s agency directive. It’s time for Danskammer to read the writing on the wall and close up shop in Newburgh.”
“As a lifelong 31 year resident of Newburgh, I continue to strongly oppose the Danskammer fossil fuel project, as well as all fossil fuels in our state. If the Danskammer Power Plant were approved for operation, all residents and future generations will have their health negatively threatened,” said Aria Valdez, Healthcare Advocate and Resident of Newburgh. “Fumes from Danskammer will drift straight into town and become trapped in our valley, causing a massive increase in cancer, infertility, birth defects, miscarriages, and unnecessarily inflicting chronic pulmonary diseases on our youngest Newburgh residents. Many Hudson Valley residents, including myself, were born with asthma as a result of living in a valley which traps allergens and air pollution. Newburgh residents have also been enduring carcinogenic contaminants in our water for more than a decade due to outright negligence by the government. This is just one symptom of systemic and environmental racism. We now have the opportunity to fight for a thriving and healthy future for Newburgh that is both equitable and anti-racist. Do not impose this racist project on our majority BIPOC community. This plant will destroy our already struggling local economy through its negative impact on our homeowners, small businesses, hospitality industry, and tourism. Invest in our future, not our demise.”
“As we stated in October, The Young Democrats of Orange County stand firmly behind Governor Hochul and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in their decision to deny Danskammer’s Title V permit,” said Zak Constantine, President of the Young Democrats of Orange County. “This appeal is just another desperate attempt by a company reliant on fossil fuels to delay the progress New York State is making on environmental protection. This company, and others like it, ought to shift their attention to building green energy infrastructure and embracing the thousands of new jobs that will come as a result. The next generation of Hudson Valley residents will not move backward on clean air and clean water for our communities.”
“The proposed Danskammer facility has never made sense to Riverkeeper. The increased localized emissions would be bad for nearby communities while the significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions would further fuel our current climate crisis. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s well-reasoned decision to deny the permit is in accordance with state law. Riverkeeper hopes the company will choose to leave the path that created the climate crisis in the first place and instead focus on technologies that can contribute to the zero-carbon power grid that New York State is actively implementing,” said Chris Bellovary, Staff Attorney at Riverkeeper.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
About the Stop Danskammer Coalition
The Stop Danskammer Coalition is a non-partisan alliance of 90+ organizations, community groups, faith-based congregations, elected officials, businesses, residents, and health professionals united in opposition against the expansion of the Danskammer fracked gas plant. If you’d like to learn more, have a story to share, would like to volunteer or join us, please visit our website stoptheplant.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org