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Good News: Siting Board AGAIN rules Danskammer application is deficient

For immediate release

Hayley Carlock, Director of Environmental Advocacy, Scenic Hudson


Cliff Weathers, Communications Director, Riverkeeper

The state board in charge of approving the proposed new Danskammer power plant in Newburgh keeps finding deficiencies in the developers’ application. Now, it has called their bluff over speculative claims about the facility’s future conversion to clean energy – following through on a recent recommendation made to the board jointly by Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Earthjustice and Clearwater.

Danskammer Energy, developers of the proposed plant in Newburgh, claimed in a July application to New York’s Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment that the facility’s operation will meet the mandates of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act because it would be possible to modify it to run on hydrogen or biomass (also called fossil gas alternatives, or FGA) sometime before 2040.  

The developers’ application lacked any information on the specific modifications, costs, timeline, or environmental impacts. More importantly, there was no commitment whatsoever that the facility would actually implement a conversion to operate on hydrogen or FGA.

Concerned over these deficiencies, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, EarthJustice and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater filed a joint motion with the board in opposition to the application. The developers’ assertions, stated the motion, were “speculative, non-specific, non-committal, unenforceable, and incomplete.” The motion also proposed two potential remedies, one of which would require Daskammer to “submit additional information to fully detail its proposals regarding the use of FGA/hydrogen.”

Last Tuesday, the siting board directed Danskammer to comply with this proposal and “provide additional information to fully detail the Applicant’s proposal regarding the use of RNG and/or hydrogen, including: information demonstrating that the use of RNG and/or hydrogen is feasible at the Danskammer Facility; what if any reconfiguration and/or additional infrastructure would be needed to convert the Facility to RNG and/or hydrogen; whether the Applicant intends to commit to the use of RNG and/or hydrogen; and an explanation of how either RNG or hydrogen would qualify as a renewable energy resource and/or a zero emissions carbon resource …”

Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, EarthJustice and Clearwater thank the New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment for recognizing that the Danskammer application lacked sufficient detail and commitment to show that its proposed plan would satisfy the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. It is clear that Danskammer’s gas-fired plant proposal is inconsistent with New York’s nation-leading climate policies, and a speculative claim about potential future conversion does not change that fact. We also thank our allies in the Stop Danskammer Coalition for their support in spearheading the successful motion.