Letter: Stop Danskammer

There are no ifs, ands or buts regarding our objection to the proposed expansion of the Danskammer power plant in Newburgh. Increasing this part-time, fracked-gas plant operating a few days per year into a 24/7 facility will have many more serious negative public health, ecological and financial ramifications, including more risk of lung exposure to particulate matter and volatile carcinogenic chemicals, more methane gas emissions and an increase of industrial noise emanating from the plant’s jet turbines and exhaust mechanisms.

The state Independent System Operator, which oversees the power grid, determined this expansion is not needed, even taking into account the Indian Point power plant’s closing. An irrelevant plant would quickly become obsolete and a financial burden.

The state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has set goals of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040. New York has banned fracking. Danskammer’s plan forces us in the opposite direction.

It’s true a full-time plant would help to subsidize the school taxes in Marlboro and create temporary construction jobs, but is pitting the fiscal well-being of a single community against the physical health of an entire region a sound civic policy? Why is the health of schoolchildren being pitted against their education’s solvency?

Studies have demonstrated that converting Danskammer into a bulk battery storage facility would be a viable clean energy alternative. It would create less dependence on other fracked-gas-burning plants by serving as backup during peak periods. It would also create jobs, as well as contribute to the local tax base.

The members of the offshore, Singapore-based investment firm who are among Danskammer’s backers would be spared breathing the dirty air this expansion will cause. We urge all New Yorkers to voice opposition to this exclusionary and environmentally backward plan by writing the Public Service Commission’s New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have the power to reject it. For more information, see stoptheplant.org.

Harvey Weiss, Chelsea

Along with Weiss, this letter was signed by 27 others, including Andrew Bell, Francis Charles, Sarah Boyd and Stowe Boyd of Beacon, and Charles Burleigh, Lithgow Osborne, Bidu Tashjian and Jon Kiphart of Cold Spring.

3 thoughts on “Letter: Stop Danskammer

  1. What would be truly great if we, the unknowing public, were to be given both sides of the controversy rather than hype from both sides. I am sick and tired of having our health and economics strictly used politically. “Follow the science” … I’m sure we have all heard that over and over again. If this Newburgh plant will truly be harmful for us along the Hudson in Putnam County, I would definitely oppose it. But if this is just more of Albany’s political hype and this could really be good for our economy, which is surely hurting right now? You tell me.

    • To get more facts on this go to Danskammer’s own analysis submitted in their application to the New York State Siting Board on what they expect to be the environmental impact of their proposal and you will see that the increase in airborne particulate matter and volatile carcinogenic chemicals will be 25x the plant’s current output (Table 17-4, page 15). This is fact, not political hype and should inform the public that Hudson Valley’s already poorly rated air quality is at further risk if this proposal is green lighted.

  2. Correction: The investors backing Danskammer are Wall Street-based, not offshore Singapore based, as mentioned in the final paragraph. Their lack of exposure to the consequences of this potential expansion still applies.