New York State Denies Permission for Proposed Astoria Power Plant

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says the controversial plan to build a new gas fracking power facility in Queens will overlap with the state’s greenhouse gas emissions limits, set through the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act two years ago.

Liz Donovan

A demonstrator holds a banner at a rally in August opposing the Astoria power plant.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Wednesday denied a controversial proposal to build a new fracking gas power plant in Astoria — a victory for environmental activists who say the project is not in line with the state’s energy emissions targets.

In 2020, Astoria Gas Turbine Power, LLC — a subsidiary of NRG Energy — applied for a clean air permit titled the Clean Air Act as part of its plans to build a fossil-fuel turbine generator in northwest Queens.

The plant will replace the 50-year-old “peak pollution plant” with a more modern crack gas facility, according to NRG, which also said the company plans to eventually convert the plant to generate renewable energy.

But the DEC said the project is not in line with the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2019 and aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

an agency Tell City Limits In August, at the time, the NRG did not provide sufficient evidence that the project would comply with the CLCPA, but public comment on the proposal was still open for two and a half weeks. In all, DEC said it has received more than 6,600 comments about the plan, which has inspired numerous protest rallies by environmental groups and community organizers.

“The proposed project would be inconsistent or would overlap with statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits set out in the climate law,” DEC said in a statement on Wednesday. “Astoria NRG failed to demonstrate the need or justify the proposed project despite this inconsistency.”

The decision won praise from Governor Cathy Hochhol, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and environmental groups.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and we owe it to future generations to achieve our groundbreaking climate and emissions reduction goals,” Hochhol said in a statement, adding that she “praised” the EDB’s decision.

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