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.
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.
Li Zich of the Sane Energy Project, an organization that rallied against this proposal as well as The North Brooklyn Pipeline Project for the National Grid.
Tom Atkins, NRG’s vice president of development, called the state’s decision disappointing, saying the proposed plant would be more energy efficient than its current and oldest facility in Astoria.
“It is unfortunate that New York is rejecting an opportunity to dramatically reduce pollution and boost reliable energy for millions of New Yorkers at such a critical time,” he said, adding that the plant would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and would eventually be converted to green hydrogen.
“In the meantime, the current Astoria plant will continue to operate to help ensure the lights stay on in New York City, where this remains the most important thing,” Atkins said in a statement.
The Full resolution of 18 pages, introduced by Daniel Whitehead, who oversees DEC’s environmental permits, noted that the project did not comply with a clause in the climate code that says permits “should not disproportionately burden disadvantaged communities.”
Astoria, the environmental justice community, is already experiencing health impacts potentially linked to sources of pollution, including power plants, highways, and waste transportation facilities. Higher-than-average levels of live asthma have earned it the nickname “asthma alley.”
“For far too long,” Senator Chuck Schumer said, “the people of western Queens have borne the brunt of the consequences of being home to too many polluting New York power plants.” “The reconstructed NRG plant could have maintained a fossil fuel-based power plant in Astoria for years to come, directly undermining the urgently needed goals enshrined in New York’s groundbreaking climate law.”
DEC also denied Implementation of a proposed power plant in Newburgh in Orange County, New York, citing similar issues. The agency said DEC has received more than 4,500 public comments regarding this project.
Progressive Council candidate Tiffany Caban, who is running for the position of Astoria seat vacant now. “When we organize, we win.”