Testimony Presented to the Town of Wawayanda Planning Board Regarding CPV

March 27, 2013

 

Town of Wawayanda

Planning Board

 

Members of the Planning Board:

 

Some people from our town justify the CPV power plant project saying we need “ratables”, while others disagree because our Town Supervisor and Board are giving CPV a PILOT. Many of us here tonight also see it as the head of a deadly snake, the Millennium Pipeline, that winds its way through the countryside threatening to destroy our health, safety and quality of life and which, can only lower property values as industrialization encroaches on our agricultural community. Many of us have questioned whether it was appropriate that the Town of Wawayanda Planning Board assumed “lead agency status” for the SEQUA process in the first place, and whether their review has been objective, competent, arms length or independent and/or impartial in the second place.

 

This question has taken on new and greater meaning as the true scope of this project has begun to come to light. In 2009, when the initial DEIS came out, it was not evident that the CPV plant would rely on unstable hydrofracked gas snaked across our county by means of the Millennium Pipeline. Nor was it anticipated, that because that pipeline was installed with a section of undersized pipe, a dangerous and noxious Compressor Station would be need to be built in the heart of a rural residential neighborhood. The need for a pump station to get Middletown grey water to the plant for coolant was not understood, especially by the people who now live nearby at the Workforce and Minority Housing project on Route 6 near the Historic Designated Graveyard site, residents who live on Kirbytown Road or in the other high density low income housing projects nearby and senior housing now under construction on County Route 78; and, the question is raised as to whether an impact study has been done as to the effect of CPV’s use of Middletown’s water on the city’s drinking water? Will it be contaminated? In addition, concerns raised by Goshen Planning Board representatives, myself and Orange Environment, Inc., relative to health hazards and safety despite proposed mitigations and environmental dangers from Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide, which contribute to acid rain and smog, and Carbon Dioxide which causes global warming and climate change, and other carcinogens and toxic pollution that will be emitted from the power plant remain major concerns not just for Wawayanda and nearby municipalities but Orange County and beyond.

 

Some think that the alleged $30 Million in project Host Community Benefit and PILOT money over 20 of the 30-year life expectancy of the plant is a great thing; others do not. Reference is made to another CPV project, the Sentinel Energy Center in Southern California that generates $25 million in Sales Tax and $5 million in annual property taxes revenue according to press releases. The question is why the local Town Supervisor, Mr. Razzano, and Republican Town Board members have not demanded fair taxation here?   This, too, raises questions as to whether they are equipped and/or competent to the task of negotiating “fair and reasonable” compensation and accommodation from CPV for hosting a project of this scope and import on behalf of Orange County. How will Middletown, Minisink, Goshen and elsewhere be compensated? And, how is “fair and reasonable” being defined? Can they or anyone put a price on the health and safety of our community, our children, our seniors, a sustainable environment, us?

 

While CPV has told everyone that this proposal will provide “clean energy to New York State,” it clearly is not going to be “clean” or as “clean” as other alternative energy options. And, since it will further pollute the air we breathe and endanger the water we drink; that there is no assurance that it will not devalue our property, make it impossible for us to sell our homes, relocate our families or be compensated for our losses; or that ANY of the energy produced at this facility will be available to our homes or any residences in nearby municipalities, we ask WHY, we, the residents of Wawayanda, Minisink, Middletown, Goshen and other neighboring Orange County communities must suffer the brunt of all the adverse environmental and other negative impacts of this project; for it is not the CPV electric generating plant alone, but the Millennium Pipeline, the incomprehensibly maddening Minisink Compressor Station, the pipeline ventilation system at the intersection of Route 1 and County Route 12, as well as the potentially explosive unstable gas pipeline itself that threatens the safety and well being of all of us in this area. And, what will come after this project; more industrial development that changes the nature and character of our community? None of these ominous consequences are necessary or would even be a consideration were it not for these projects and those willing to surrender their integrity and our homeland for money and political power. Residents of our town and others as well as those of neighboring municipalities need to know that their families, their children, their seniors as well as minority populations are being considered when you make your decision to allow this project to go forward.

 

Again, some believe this project will be beneficial. Many others and we want to know for whom? Just how much does CPV project to gain by development of this power plant. What is CPV’s projected annual profit for this facility relative to the PILOT and Host Community Benefit Program allocation being negotiated by our town politicians, and how much of that profit will be sheltered in “Off Shore Tax Havens” or tax loopholes from Federal, State and Local Taxes?   Obviously CPV will not be paying its fair share of taxes given the PILOT our town leaders are allowing.   And, how much of CPV’s profit will be spent on Political Action Committees (PAC’s) to allow them to buy influence with our Republican politicians and further their corporate agenda?

 

In sum, we continue to question the need for and benefit of the CPV power plant here in Wawayanda and Orange County. We believe the people of Orange County have not been properly informed about or included in deliberations on the CPV power plant and its related projects which, will have enormous adverse health, safety, environmental and other impacts on residents throughout Orange County and beyond. Allowing this project to go forward will not promote development of “clean energy” in New York State. On the contrary, it will promote hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction along with the consequent negative environmental impacts to provide fuel for its operation. It will increase our country’s dependence on fossil fuels, increase global warming and accelerate climate change. It will further contaminate the air we breathe which, already exceed Federal Air Quality Standards and endanger our water as well as the food our farmers grow, sell and we consume. We question the fairness and reasonableness of the deal town politicians are giving CPV and allowing them to get away without paying their fair share of the tax burden.

 

This project has gone much to far without adequate scrutiny, public awareness and input. It is not to late to stop it. Now is the time to do so.  An administrative hearing is requested by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation with regard to the concerns raised above as well as any and all remaining permit applications on behalf of CPV’s power plant and related projects.

 

Finally, the rule enacted by the Republican controlled Wawayanda Town Board regarding public input at hearings that only allows three (3) minutes is a disgraceful negation of the people’s constitutional right to Free Speech. This board has met for over five years while the people affected by this project have been excluded and you have the arrogance to allow only a few minutes for us to respond; it is an affront to American democracy, a statement about the Republican administration and a shameful abuse of authority.

 

Randolph Hurst

83 Post Road

Slate Hill, NY 10973