NY Gov. Sides with People Over Polluters, Denies Astoria NRG Fracked Gas Plant Permits

The No Astoria NRG Plant Coalition Applauds Decision As Victory for Public Health and Climate; Outline Next Steps in Moving New York Off Fossil Fuels

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Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Today, Governor Hochul’s Department of Environmental Conservation rejected permits for the Astoria NRG fracked gas plant, shutting the project down and keeping polluting fossil fuels out of Astoria, Queens. The decision is a victory for the No Astoria NRG Plant Coalition and broader state grassroots climate movement, who have been relentlessly organizing against the project for years. Today’s decision tees up similar outcomes in the ongoing permitting processes of other polluting projects currently moving forward including the Gowanus repowering in Brooklyn. The members of the No Astoria NRG Plant Coalition applaud the decision.

An approved Astoria NRG fracked gas plant would have brought more fossil fuels onto the grid, spurring on the climate crisis and intensifying the public health crisis in New York’s heavily-polluted “asthma alley.” Throughout the state permitting process, the local community made it clear that they did not want more polluting infrastructure built in their neighborhood. New Yorkers flooded the DEC with more than 6,000 public comments filed against the plant. At public hearings on the project this summer, 156 New Yorkers testified against the project — only 12 speakers spoke in support.

While the Governor and the DEC’s decision is a critical first step in moving New York off fossil fuels, advocates warn that it is not enough. In order to head off the worst effects of the climate crisis, Governor Hochul must transition the state off fossil fuels entirely. The No Astoria NRG Plant Coalition calls on the Governor to stop other fossil fuel infrastructure projects currently moving forward, and enact real legislation that will ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure; build a publicly-owned, democratically controlled energy system; and repair the environmental injustices perpetrated against working-class communities. Laura Shindell, Astoria-based Senior New York Organizer with Food & Water Watch said:

“New Yorkers can breathe a little easier today. We hope Governor Hochul’s decisions to stop Danskammer and Astoria NRG are the first of the dominoes to fall. We expect similar decisions on polluting projects from National Grid’s fracked gas vaporizers in Brooklyn, to the proposed Gowanus power plant, and look forward to seeing state commitments to a truly clean energy future for New York — free of fossil fuels.”

​​”When working class people fight, we win: and today we defeated fossil fuel Goliath NRG,” said Stylianos Karolidis, NYC-DSA Ecosocialist Working Group. “We look forward to beating the fossil fuel industry again and again for the next decade. New York State has passed zero climate legislation in the last two years, and our state is behind its climate goals. We urge the Governor and the state legislature to create an energy system that is publicly owned and democratically controlled. Public Power now!” 

“The Sierra Club applauds Governor Hochul for denying the permits for the proposed Danskammer and Astoria NRG fracked gas power plants, citing their inconsistency with New York’s nation-leading climate law,” said Allison Considine, NY Campaign Representative with Sierra Club. “Today, Governor Hochul made clear that fracked gas power plants have no place in New York’s energy future, heeding the call of environmental justice and climate advocates and community members who organized tirelessly for this climate victory. We are at a pivotal moment in the fight against the fossil fuel industry, and New York is showing true leadership in rejecting dirty energy and committing to the clean, renewable energy system all people deserve.” 

“The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) commends the action taken by Governor Hochul, Commissioner Seggos and the Departmental of Conservation (DEC) to deny the permits for these proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects today,” said Eric Wood, Regional Coordinator of NYPIRG. “New York has a history of not following through with promises made to make steps toward a clean energy future. It is inspiring to see some rhetoric followed through with action!”

“Queens Climate Project is thrilled with today’s announcement from the DEC that New York State will not allow these disastrous fossil fuel projects to continue,” said Elaine O’Brien a core group member of Queens Climate Project. “We believe that the rejection of the Astoria and Danskammer plants will send a signal to the fossil fuel industry that New York State is no place for fracked gas and fossil fuel plants. New Yorkers are ready for renewables, and halting these dirty plants is the first step.”

“Today’s victory belongs to the people of Astoria and across New York who fought this dirty fracked gas plant and fought so hard to pass the CLCPA,” said Lee Ziesche, Sane Energy Project. “The DEC is sending a clear message today, fracked gas does not comply with New York law and we look forward to the DEC & Governor Hochul applying the same standard to National Grid’s proposed fracked gas vaporizers in North Brooklyn and other fracked gas projects across the state.” 

“350Brooklyn is encouraged by the Hochul administration’s decision to do the right thing for the people of New York City by rejecting the Astoria NRG Peaker Plant. This decision signals that it is long past time for the state of New York to move on from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy. We hope that this visionary leadership is a sign of the continued progress toward our CLCPA goals that is to come,” said Georgi Page, an organizer with 350Brooklyn’s City Action committee. 

“We applaud Governor Hochul and the DEC for stopping these climate-destroying projects. People power is winning! What’s needed, though, is for the Governor to reject the feckless Cuomo policies where all of us had to fight these projects one by one. It’s time for a clear new policy: no new fossil fuel infrastructure in New York,” said Pete Sikora, Climate & Inequality Campaigns Director, New York Communities for Change.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]