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
Danskammer and Public Health webinar with nearly 200 interested community members and elected officials in attendance
Danskammer files second Article 10 application supplement
Danskammer files first Article 10 application supplement
NYS Siting Board issues application deficiency letter to Danskammer
Poughkeepsie Common Council adopts its first resolution of the year, opposing expansion of Danskammer
Danskammer files Article 10 Application with NYS Siting Board
12 municipalities have passed resolutions against Danskammer, including: City of Newburgh, City of Beacon, City of Kingston, City of Peekskill, Village of New Paltz, Village of Cold Spring, Town of Saugerties, Town of New Paltz, Town of Philipstown, Town of Rosendale, Town of Esopus and the Town of New Castle.
Newburgh City Council passes a unanimous resolution against expansion of Danskammer
City of Beacon Danskammer Educational Forum
New Hamburg Neighborhood Association educational forum
Danskammer files Article 10 Preliminary Scoping Statement
Community Roundtable to Oppose Danskammer, Newburgh
Rally to Oppose Danskammer, Town of Newburgh
Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice Danskammer Forum, Newburgh
Danskammer files its Public Involvement Plan with the NYS Siting Board
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.