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SLARE HILL, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has denied an air permit for the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power plant in Wawayanda. An earlier permit expired on July 31, and the DEC denied a new permit because of a change in regulations that require CPV to acquire what’s called a Title V Permit before operating the plant. A DEC official said the plant can’t legally operate without the permit.
A CPV official said the company plans to work with the DEC to address any concerns the department has, but it’s not clear how long it may take for the company to acquire a Title V Permit, or how long a delay this development may mean for the controversial plant.
Activists and environmentalists have been working diligently to block the plant from going online, and they saw an opening after Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and former CPV executive Peter Braith Kelly were convicted on charges of corruption connected with the construction of the plant.
Pramilla Malick, chair of Protect Orange County, issued statement saying, “While this is a step in the right direction, and we are deeply grateful for DEC’s denial, we cannot declare victory until all operations cease, deconstruction commences and the Millennium expansion comes to a grinding halt.”
The CPV plant will be fueled by natural gas pushed through the Millennium Pipeline and the compressor station near Eldred, which is part of the Eastern System Upgrade project (ESU). Sullivan County Residents Against Millennium (SCRAM) have been vocal opponents of ESU.
A statement from George Billard, co-founder of SCRAM, said, “Although we applaud Gov. Cuomo and NYS DEC for their decision to deny the air permit renewal for CPV, it is, however, premature to celebrate. If New York is serious about its energy policy, it is essential that CPV is decommissioned and Millennium Pipeline ESU construction is halted and rolled back.”
Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said, “I applaud Gov. Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for standing up for the health of all New Yorkers and for protecting the environment of New York State. This is the kind of leadership we need as we march toward our renewable energy future.”