Siding with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the environmental left, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday killed two proposed natural gas-powered projects in Queens and upstate Newburgh.
State Department of Environmental Commissioner Basil Seggos said both proposals failed to comply with the state’s “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” to reduce carbon emissions.
Power company NRG said the project would retrofit its 50-year-old natural gas-burning plant near the Robert Kennedy/Triborough Bridge and claimed it would cut polluting carbon emissions.
The Astoria plant is called a “peaker” facility because it provides needed additional power to the electric grid during peak usage, such as during summer heat waves when millions of New Yorkers blast their air conditioners.
“Our review determined the proposed project does not demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The proposed project would be inconsistent with or would interfere with the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits established in the Climate Act,” Seggos said in a statement denying the permit.
“Astoria NRG failed to demonstrate the need or justification for the proposed project notwithstanding this inconsistency.”
Seggos rejected the Danskammer Energy Center’s proposed natural-gas powered project in Newburgh on identicial grounds.
Hochul hailed the action taken by her environmental agency.
“I applaud the Department of Environmental Conservation’s decisions to deny the Title V Permits for the Danskammer Energy Center and Astoria Gas Turbine Power, LLC in the context of our state’s clean energy transition. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and we owe it to future generations to meet our nation-leading climate and emissions reduction goals,” the governor said in a statement.
The proposed project is in the district of Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) — opponents of the project .
Ocasio-Cortez, a proponent of the Green New Deal to phase out carbon-spewing fossil fuels, rallied against the Astoria power plant, which would burn natural gas produced by fracking, during an Earth Day celebration in April.
“We’re not going to allow our water to be compromised. We’re not going to allow our air to be compromised,” the congresswoman said.
NRG, in a statement, called Hochul’s decision a mistake, saying there are “not enough renewable resources” to “keep the lights on in New York City today.”
“It’s unfortunate that New York is turning down an opportunity to dramatically reduce pollution and strengthen reliable power for millions of New Yorkers at such a critical time,” said Tom Atkins, NRG’s vice president of development.
“NRG’s Astoria Replacement Project would have provided immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and would have been fully convertible to green hydrogen in the future.