After years of fierce community opposition, Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) announced on October 1, 2018 that their fracked gas power plant in Orange County, New York is in operation.
CPV CEO Gary Lambert said:
“I’m proud to announce the commercial operation on natural gas of the CPV Valley Energy Center. After nearly 10 years of development and construction, we are providing significant value to the area and New York. This facility will enhance the reliability of the Lower Hudson Valley electric system, reduce annual electricity costs to New York consumers by a forecasted $700 million while reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 500,000 tons a year. We look forward to being an integral part of the community for decades to come.”
The announcement came less than a week after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a session for public comments for an Air State Facility (ASF) permit for the fracked gas power plant.
The New Yorkers who commented provided a starkly different view of the plant than the positive image Lambert tried to paint in his statement.
Many residents of Orange County told the DEC that when the CPV plant was testing on diesel the region was blanketed in air pollution. One man said he could see the pollution emitted from the stacks hanging over the area and coming right up to his front door.
The community is worried that with the plant now running on fracked gas that the pollution will be less visible, but still there.
A brand new fracked gas plant not far from CPV in Jessup, PA malfunction on August 29, 2018 and released 3 times the legal limit of poisonous nitrogen oxide.
Fracked gas is a precursor for smog, and residents of Orange County are worried the volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide and PM2.5 emitted from the CPV power plant won’t dissipate because of the soup bowl formation of the region.
New Yorkers also traveled to the hearing from other parts of the state to ask the DEC to deny CPV the ASF permit because of the greenhouse gas emissions from the fracked gas plant. They asked the DEC to take into account the total life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions from the gas burned in the plant.
New York banned fracking, but will be bringing in the fracked gas from neighboring Pennsylvania.
Alarming rates of fugitive methane emissions have been found during not only the fracking process, but all along the ancillary fracked gas infrastructure like pipelines, compressor stations, metering station and power plants.
Methane is so potent a greenhouse gas, that if just 3% leaks throughout the entire fracked gas process, it is worse for the climate than coal. Cornell researcher Bob Howarth has discovered leakage rates from 5-12%.
CPV has tried to claim their fracked gas power plant will help New York’s climate goals but the truth is if all the leaking methane is included, the plant will be adding greatly to the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, all the while increasing demand for fracking in Pennsylvania.
Governor Cuomo acknowledged the contradiction between the plant’s actual greenhouse gas emissions and the states climate goals during an interaction with Food and Water Watch’s Lauren Shindell.
During their conversation Cuomo inaccurately stated that his administration has never approved any permits for CPV, but also said they would not approve any new permits for fracked gas power plants.
If the Governor keeps his word, the DEC could not approve CPV’s air quality permit.
Almost every New Yorker at the DEC public hearing in Goshen called on Governor Cuomo and the DEC to protect their health by denying CPV the air quality permit.
So far there’s been no indication from the Governor’s administration that they’ll deny the permit permanently, and residents of Orange County are now anxiously watching the massive fracked gas monster in their community as it begins running without a permit.
Some are skeptical that the CPV plant is up and running at full capacity like the company says, and citizen recorded videos show that tests are still being done on the 7.8 mile Valley Lateral pipeline that delivers fracked gas to the plant.
Residents say they weren’t alerted of testing and the lack of information being provided by the Millennium pipeline company and CPV only increases their concerns about the fracked gas pipeline and power plant.
They want Governor Cuomo to shut the plant down for good.
The call coming from the citizens of Orange County can be heard in many communities across New York that are demanding Governor Cuomo protect them from fracked gas infrastructure.
An even larger fracked gas power plant is currently under construction in Dutchess County and dozens of communities are now being exposed to frack gas pollution because of the expansions of the Dominion and Spectra AIM fracked gas pipelines.
These communities will continue to demand action from the Governor until the gas is shut off.
And call Governor Cuomo at 877-235-6537 and tell him to shut down all fracked gas infrastructure in New York State.