Opponents of the CPV Valley Energy Center stood across the street Monday from the Wawayanda plant that is well under construction, calling on the Orange County Legislature to pass two CPV-related resolutions.
Opponents outlined their legal and legislative efforts to prevent or at least delay Competitive Power Ventures’ 650-megawatt Valley Energy Center from operating. They say two Orange County resolutions, if passed, could help stop the plant and the associated Valley Lateral pipeline expansion project. Pramilla Malick is a longtime CPV plant opponent and chair of Protect Orange County. She says there is CPV pushback to the county resolutions.
“CPV is not only taking out full-page ads, they sent a letter to Steve Brescia, the head of the Orange County… chair of the Orange County Legislature repeating the same ludicrous talking points that one of the largest power plants in New York state will actually improve our air quality, I mean, that’s absurd,” Malick says.
A spokesman for CPV, in an emailed statement, says, “The CPV Valley Energy Center will open in early 2018. By displacing older, less efficient generation operating today, the facility will reduce regional carbon emissions by nearly half a million tons per year. The CPV Energy Center will also strengthen the local economy and provide millions of dollars to support local services. The environment is too important to allow emotions to override science…the truth matters and it’s time people were held accountable for purposely spreading misinformation.”
Democratic county legislator Jeffrey Berkman has authored a resolution that would put the county legislature on record as supporting the suspension of final permitting for both projects until the New York State Commissioner of Health can review, analyze and investigate new scientific data and information regarding the projects. It also wants to suspend work until the state Attorney General investigates alleged misconduct, improper lobbying, and “questionable” activities related to the power plant and pipeline. Berkman’s resolution did not make it through the Health and Mental Health Committee, but he hopes to move it forward during the legislature’s October 5 session.
“I’ll talk with my caucus, Democratic Caucus, and we’ll determine the best course of action, but those choices would include moving to put on my resolution by consent, meaning an early vote just to put it on the agenda,” Berkman says. “If that doesn’t work, then we can seek to amend another resolution.”
And by amend, he means combining his resolution with a Republican resolution he supports. The Republican resolution, sponsored by Legislator Michael Anagnostakis, calls on Orange County to urge the state Department of Environmental Conservation to review a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision concerning the Millennium natural gas pipeline and consider all legal options to protect public health and the environment. On September 15th, FERC announced it determined the state DEC took too long to decide on a water quality permit needed to expand the pipeline. The 7.8-mile pipeline would supply gas for the CPV plant. Matt Turnbull is Orange County Legislature Democratic minority leader.
“Well, we would hope that our Republican brethren join us in combining the two resolutions so the most strongest possible resolution is sent up to DEC, New York state Department of Health, attorney general.”
Monday’s press conference near the CPV plant site also was part campaign for the Democratic candidate for Orange County executive, Patrick Davis.
“So I want to make it extremely clear that when voters in Orange County show up to the polls on November 7 this year, that they’re electing a new county executive in me, Pat Davis, that is against CPV on the basis of the impact of health and safety of the residents of Orange County,” Davis says.
Davis questioned Republican Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus’ leadership on this issue, among others. In an emailed statement, Neuhaus says, “Over a year ago, when one of Governor Cuomo’s top staff was arrested in relation to the CPV project, I called for the project to be halted and all new reviews done in Albany. County Legislators can pass whatever version of the resolution they like, and I appreciate their concern for this matter. What we need though is our State and Federal Legislators to pass a bill halting all the State and Federal permits pending a true independent review untainted by corruption. So far that hasn’t happened.”