For Immediate Release
Elected officials from across the state held a virtual press conference to announce the release of a letter signed by 150 lawmakers urging Governor Cuomo to reject the application to a new gas-fired power plant at the Danskammer site in Newburgh.
The letter was signed by lawmakers from across New York, including eight state senators, seven members of the New York City Council, and nine state Assemblymembers, and an array of local and county-level legislators.
Tiger Infrastructure, the Wall Street private equity firm that owns Danskammer, is proposing a massive expansion of a fracked gas plant, which sits along the Hudson River and currently operates at less than 5% of its capacity. The proposal to run the plant year-round would add toxic emissions to our air and worsen the effects of climate change.
”The Danskammer power plant threatens nearby communities and risks locking New York State into decades of fossil fuel dependence and emissions. As an alternative, for the health and economic future of our communities, and to avoid the worst impacts from climate change, we ask that your administration not permit the proposed plant and lead the way in meeting aggressive renewable energy goals,” the letter reads, which has 150 signatures from elected leaders all across the state who oppose Danskammer.
“Danskammer’s proposal to build a new fracked-gas power plant would increase emissions of harmful pollutants like particulates and volatile organic compounds, which cause respiratory illnesses like asthma,” said Hayley Carlock, Director of Environmental Advocacy for Scenic Hudson. “These health impacts will be felt most acutely in nearby environmental justice communities like the City of Newburgh. In addition, the proposed plant’s expected 40-fold increase in climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions is completely inconsistent with New York’s nation-leading climate policies. The Hudson Valley deserves cleaner air and sustainable economic development--not another dirty fossil fuel plant.”
Despite the false narrative that natural gas is cleaner and better for the climate, drilling and fracking and its associated infrastructure have greatly contributed to climate and air pollution. Fracking-related air quality degradation has resulted in anywhere from 1,200 to 4,600 deaths in just over a decade.
“Building in a flood-prone area on the shores of the Hudson River, which will experience sea-level rise and increasingly severe weather due to the global climate crisis is a foolhardy investment at best -- of what ultimately will be ratepayer dollars,” said Manna Jo Greene of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. “We have already experienced 13-foot storm surges during Hurricane Sandy, with worsening storms predicted. If built, this plant will exacerbate climate change, rather than addressing it constructively. These funds would be better invested in renewable energy infrastructure to help the transition to a renewable energy economy with storage and efficiency that is the mandate of these times and the law of the land in NY State, which has passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) with its ambitious goals for renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction.”
There is clear and growing opposition to this project across the Hudson Valley region. Local governments have been responding to the growing demand to rapidly transition off of fossil fuels. To date, 21 municipalities in the region have passed resolutions opposing Danskammer, including the neighboring City of Newburgh and Town of Cornwall.
“The Danskammer expansion will further pollute the air and water of our region. We should not be settling on short term financial gain for long term environmental impacts that will be devastating to communities like Newburgh. That is not the kind of legacy we should be passing on to future generations to have to clean up. We should be focusing on sustainable jobs that do not compromise our environment and poison our communities,” said Kevindaryán Luján, Orange County Legislator - Newburgh District 4.
“Allowing an expansion of the Danskammer power plant is doubling down on New York's past when we need to be investing in our future. There is no way to build new fossil fuel infrastructure and meet the important climate protecting goals of the CLCPA.” said Jessica Roff, Riverkeeper’s Director of Advocacy and Engagement. “The Hudson River needs clean and sustainable projects along its shores, not the constant threat of dangerous, polluting projects that continue to threaten the river, the communities that live on its shores, and the climate. Governor Cuomo must reject Danskammer's permits.”
"The urgency of climate change requires us to act swiftly to end our reliance on fossil fuels and prioritize clean energy investments,” said State Senator Jen Metzger (SD-42). “Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed last year, we are committed to eliminating fossil fuels from electricity generation within 20 years. Within this context, approving a fracked-gas power plant with a useful life of 50 years or more makes no sense, especially given that we currently have sufficient electricity resources online to meet grid reliability needs.”
The letter includes local council members and county legislators from Newburgh and the surrounding communities, as well as state leaders from as far south as New York City.
“The broad opposition from elected officials to the Danskammer proposal reflects the simple truth that the construction of a fracked gas power plant runs counter to our region’s best interest,” said Dutchess County Legislator Nick Page.
“I don’t know about you, but this proposed power plant expansion, and the people backing it and acquiescing to it make me angry - and anyone who knows me knows it takes a lot to make me angry. I am impatient for environmental justice, and for our elected officials to understand the actual science, and economics, and health impacts, and costs behind fracked gas and climate change. Building and expanding another fossil fuel plant? We don’t need it! Fossil fuels must stop NOW,” said Air Rhodes, Beacon City Council.
“Local municipalities need to represent the voices of their communities,” said Virginia Scott, Town of Cornwall Board Member. "This proposal is a direct violation of the Climate Leadership and Protection Act. The health of our residents and the Hudson River ecosystem is at stake. We have observed the consequences of not speaking out. Cornwall has a history of environmental advocacy and has resently passed and submitted a resolution to oppose to expansion of the Danskammer Power Plant.”
In light of the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, these elected leaders are urging Governor Cuomo to reject new fossil fuel infrastructure like Danskammer, and commit to renewable energy.