A win for New York’s clean energy future: the Department of Energy Conservation denies permits for harmful gas plant expansions
When Danskammer Energy and NRG filed proposals with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to expand operations of their polluting gas plant on the Hudson River, climate justice and environmental advocates immediately sounded the alarm. If approved, the expansion would have exponentially increased air pollution in the surrounding communities and done tangible harm to our decarbonization efforts.
New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is crystal clear: all actions by state agencies must be consistent with the state’s goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and they must not cause disproportionate harm to disadvantaged communities. Allowing massive gas plant expansions would have sent a false and toxic message: that CLCPA is a paper tiger that can be dismantled with technicalities.
This summer, thousands of New Yorkers — including more than 100 Vote Solar members — spoke out in opposition of the project. Through town meetings, CLCPA state proceedings, letters and calls to elected officials, media , and protests, renewable energy advocates demanded that energy regulators be held accountable to the law. Our efforts made a difference. Yesterday, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC has denied the permits for both the Danskammer expansion and the similarly harmful NRG plant in Astoria, Queens, stating that “the proposed project does not demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” and not necessary to ensure grid reliability. We commend Commissioner Seggos and DEC for hearing our concerns and making the only right choice for New York’s renewable energy future.
The CLCPA is the result of years of activism and organizing from all corners of the state, led by impacted communities. Yesterday’s announcement once again demonstrates the power of unified action, and I’m grateful for the leadership and determination of our allies and comrades. As we work to build an equitable clean energy future for all New Yorkers, we’ll continue to advocate for policies that make our bold carbon-free targets a reality.