On October 27th, 2021, NY’s Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) denied the Danskammer fracked gas power plant required permits. The decision will protect clean air and water in the Hudson Valley and town of Newburgh, and help New York achieve its emissions reductions targets under the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Coupled with the agency’s simultaneous denial of the Astoria NRG fracked gas permits, the decision is a major victory for the Stop Danskammer Coalition and climate advocates across the state, who have organized for years against fracked gas in New York. Danskammer has requested an adjudicatory hearing to challenge DEC’s permit denial. That hearing will commence in early 2022. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to get involved and make sure DEC’s permit denial is upheld!
Danskammer originally filed its Article 10 application to the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment in December 2019.The state deemed Danskammer’s application deficient twice because it contains insufficient information to demonstrate the project’s consistency with the CLCPA- New York’s climate law. Despite having now filed three supplements to its December 2019 application purporting to address how its project will comply with the mandates of the Climate Act, it remains clear that there is no way the proposed natural gas-fired power plant could possibly be consistent with the greenhouse gas emissions requirements of the CLCPA.
In December, 2020, alternatives were unveiled for the Danskammer site, providing the expertise of energy economists at Ghent Associates and designers University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. To date, 28 communities have taken steps in opposition to the proposed plant and a coalition of community organizations, businesses, and faith-based congregations has formed to the #stoptheplant.
On March 1, 2021, Danskammer’s application was deemed complete by the New York State Siting Board. This marks the commencement of the Article 10 permitting process, which can last from 12-18 months. During this time, trial-type evidentiary hearings will be held, along with opportunities for public comments. Additionally, Danskammer must receive a Title V air permit from the DEC. As of October, 2021, the DEC has denied the permit on the grounds that the Danskammer proposal is not aligned with state climate law.
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Danskammer Energy owns an existing 64-year-old power plant on the Hudson River in the Town of Newburgh. The existing plant operates only a handful of days a year as a “peaker” facility. Danskammer is proposing to build a new 550-Megawatt gas-fired plant next to the existing facility. It would be a “baseload” facility, running nearly all the time.
Power from a new Danskammer plant is not needed to replace Indian Point when its generating units retire. Every two years, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) conducts a Reliability Needs Assessment (RNA), which assesses whether adequate generation and transmission resources exist to ensure the reliability of New York’s bulk power system. In its most recent (2018) RNA, the NYISO concluded that even with Indian Point’s retirement, there will be no reliability concerns for New York’s electric system over at least the next 10 years without a new Danskammer plant. Further, given the recent, very large increase in proposed renewable energy projects as a result of the adoption of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), future generation needs are expected to be met by renewable resources supported by energy storage.
The new Danskammer plant will emit far more air pollution than the existing plant. Given the dramatic increase in operating hours, harmful air pollutants that threaten public health and contribute to climate change will increase significantly, which Danskammer admits in its own regulatory filings. These pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides – both ozone precursors – as well as greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to increase by more than 4,000%!
In April, the American Lung Association published their State of the Air® 2020. This report gave the Hudson Valley’s air quality a “D” average rating, with many counties ranking among the worst in the state. Air pollution particularly aggravates chronic diseases, including asthma, while extended exposure reduces life expectancy. Given the worrying public health issues caused by the region’s existing pollution, building a new power plant that will exponentially increase annual emissions is a giant step backward.
Danskammer Event Timeline
Overwhelming opposition to plant at public hearing for appeal of DEC’s decision to deny Title V air permit
Danskammer files appeal of DEC decision to deny its Title V air permit
Danskammer’s Title V air permit (required) is denied by NY’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Additional public hearings held for Siting Board/Article 10, as a result staggeringly high participaton by Stop Danskammer allies
Strong majority of public voices turn out against Danskammer at DEC Title V air permit public hearings
Flotilla to stop Danskammer- hundreds take to the Hudson in the name of protecting health, air, & environment
First round of Siting Board/Article 10 public hearings are held, with staggering number of allies registered to speak out. Many did not receive the opportunity to speak, due to the virtual hearings being overloaded/at capacity.
Westchester County Legislature unanimously passes resolution against Danskammer
Nearly 200 allies attend Film Premiere & Panel Discussion of Flicker Filmworks Short Documentary “Stop Danskammer”
“We must replace fossil fuel plants with clean power”- Andrew Cuomo in his annual State of the State address
Danskammer- Isn’t It Worth Getting Right? Unveiling of alternatives study done by Ghent Associates & University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design
Danskammer Files Fourth Application Supplement
25 municipal resolutions against Danskammer passed in: Town of Esopus, Town of Gardiner, Town of Hurley, City of Kingston, Town of Marbletown, Town of New Paltz, Village of New Paltz, Town of Rosendale, Town of Saugerties, Town of Cornwall, City of Newburgh, City of Hudson, City of Beacon, Town of Clinton, City of Poughkeepsie, Village of Cold Spring, Town of Philipstown, Village of Suffern, Town of Greenburgh, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Village of Larchmont, Town of Mamaroneck, City of Mount Vernon, Town of New Castle, and the City of Peekskill.
Part 3: The Plant wraps up the Cycle of Harm: The Toxic Path of Fracked Gas webinar series finale. Nearly 200 participants learn about how Danskammer will impair public health, threaten the environmental, and exploit local residents. Panelists include a medical expert, an attorney, a resident living near a newly built gas plant, and a grassroots activist on the ground in Newburgh
NYS Siting Board issues second application deficiency letter to Danskammer
Siting Board rejects Danskammer’s application supplement; Art. 10 application remains incomplete pending submission of additional information
Part 2: Transmission, the 2nd of the Cycle of Harm: Toxic Path of Fracked Gas series, a panel of experts share with you the many negative public health impacts that gas infrastructure– pipelines, compressor stations, and fracking wastewater–brings to communities and people along the way.
Westchester Legislature sends bi-partisan and unanimous letter to Cuomo to reject a new Danskammer
Danskammer files third application supplement
Webinar series “Cycle of Harm: The Toxic Path of Fracked Gas” is launched, exposing each detrimental stage of fracking, from drilling well to pipeline to power plant. Part 1 focuses on the gas that’s fracked in Pennsylvania well fields, which will be burned by the Danskammer if it’s approved.
A Legacy Reignited
The compelling STOP THE PLANT illustration was created in 2002 by renowned artist, graphic designer and Hudson Valley resident Woody Pirtle to mobilize grassroots opposition to another irresponsible industrial project along the Hudson River—the St. Lawrence Cement Plant in Hudson (Columbia County). Like the proposed Danskammer facility, this plant would have caused a massive increase in pollution and permanently prevented Hudson residents from reconnecting with their waterfront.
Featured on posters and lawn signs, Woody’s design provided indispensable support as the 7-year campaign waged by local and regional environmental groups heated up. They achieved victory in 2005, when New York State refused to grant the permit required for the project.
We thank Woody for allowing us to reuse this icon of protest art to convey the urgency of our current campaign. And we’re grateful to illustrator/animator Josh McKible, also a valley resident passionate about our communities’ environmental health, for bringing Woody’s poster design to life for this new campaign.