Above: CPV protest by John Carl D’Annibale, Albany Times Union.
One day after the air permit expired for the Competitive Power Ventures fracked gas power plant in Wawayanda New York, the State Department of Environmental Conservation denied the company’s Air Facility Permit renewal application, citing failure to submit federal Title V air permit application, usually required for plants of this size.
Protect Orange County submitted a letter to DEC on Tuesday, July 31 requesting denial of the permit based on several facts including the lack of an accurate greenhouse gas emissions analysis, documented health impacts, and invalid emissions reduction credits. However, central to all those issues was the corruption involved. Evidence presented during the trial of former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco, along with CPV executive Peter Braith Kelly revealed a lengthy quid-pro-quo bribery scheme to facilitate the project’s approvals along with other benefits.
“While this is a step in the right direction and we are deeply grateful for DEC’s denial we cannot declare victory until all operations cease, deconstruction commences, and the Millennium expansion comes to a grinding halt,” said Pramilla Malick, the Chair of Protect Orange County.
The Eastern System Upgrade expansion is underway in both Orange and Sullivan Counties which is designed to help gas flow to the CPV Power Plant. Sullivan County Residents Against Millennium have been leading the opposition to that project which is currently threatening water resources, as well as tearing up critical forests and farmland.
“Although we applaud Governor Cuomo and NYS DEC for their decision to deny the air permit renewal for CPV, it is, however, premature to celebrate. If NY is serious about its energy policy, it is essential that CPV is decommissioned and Millennium Pipeline ESU construction is halted and rolled back.
There are still many unanswered questions about how these projects received their permits and we encourage AG Barbara Underwood to conduct a vigorous investigation. Until that time, we will continue to raise awareness around these unwanted and unlawful projects, as well as shine a spotlight on the politicians and lobbyists who, despite widespread community opposition, facilitated their building in the first place.”, said George Billard, Co-Founder – SCRAM
In a letter issued by Kelly Turturro the DEC informed CPV that they cannot operate without the Title V (CAA) permit. They further advised CPV that a general public comment period as well as 45-day EPA comment period would be part of any Title V application process.
The DEC also warned CPV that any violation would cost them $18,000 per an incident and $15,000 per each day the violation continues.
“We hope CPV’s investors would not want them to rake up such fines”, said Malick, “but we have the DEC’s letter in hand and will contact the police immediately if any violations occur.”
Malick is skeptical about the EPA’s ability to safeguard public health and is worried about federal overreach in this process. She notes that the several lawmakers are advancing a bill in Congress to usurp state authority under the Clean Water Act citing the DEC’s denial of the water permit for the Valley Lateral Pipeline which would serve CPV.
In that case, DEC denied the permit after allowing the one-year statutory deadline to expire. FERC quickly overturned the decision, which was later upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We’re tired of this regulatory roulette”, said Malick, “Cuomo needs to pull the plug on this dangerous project built on bribes and lies one way or another.”
The Valley Lateral Pipeline now complete took many properties via eminent domain and caused enormous disturbance during construction. CPV does have 30 days to request an adjudicatory hearing. In that event Protect Orange County says they will intervene and continue to raise their objections.