N.Y. power plant opponents seek support
SHERMAN — New York residents are hoping to get some support from their Connecticut neighbors as they fight a power plant already being built in Dover Plains, N.Y.
Several New Yorkers who live near the new Cricket Valley plant shared health and environmental concerns about the project at last Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting and encouraged Sherman residents to sign a petition or visit their Facebook page opposing the project.
The Cricket Valley plant would generate 1,100 megawatts of power using natural gas. The plant was proposed in 2009 and approved by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation in 2012. Construction has started and the plant is expected to be online in 2020.
Environmental advocates and residents are concerned the nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds emitted by the plant will harm their health and the environment.
Several speakers noted these chemicals can travel a distance and will harm communities downwind. Sherman is 8 miles from the plant, New Milford is 10 miles away and Kent is 6 miles from the 193-acre site.
Some speakers said the emission meet the federal standards, but said those standards are for regions and don’t protect those living directly around the plant.
“I’m not reassured,” said Johanna Fallert, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “This plant is an abomination and must be stopped.”
With the project already under construction, advocates are putting pressure on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to try to halt the project.
Linda Yannone, of Sherman, said Cuomo has presidential aspirations and if Connecticut opposes it, then it might encourage him to oppose it, too.
“This is our call to action, folks,” she said.
Charles Davenport, one of the New York residents who spoke, said Cuomo and the state attorney general are suing the Environmental Protection Agency for allowing air pollution to travel from plants in other states but is allowing the chemicals to be produced in New York.
But not all residents are against the project.
Alex Thompson, of Sherman, said he inhales these types of chemicals daily at his job and he’s fine. He encouraged residents to hear the different sides of the story. He added people were quick to oppose a project in their backyard but want the benefits of the project, such as cell towers.
“I want all of the modern conveniences,” he said. “This is the price you have to pay. If you put it in my backyard, I probably wouldn’t worry about dying from it.”
Advocates of the project say it will create jobs, generate tax revenue and help generate power for New York’s power grid, especially as a a nuclear power facility is scheduled to come offline in 2021, according to previous articles.
First Selectman Don Lowe said he invited representatives from the Cricket Valley plant to speak at Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, but they were unable to attend.
He said the Conservation Commission still plans to host a forum on the project in February or March where multiple viewpoints can be shared.
“We’re going to have a conversation on this,” he said.