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Groups file suit to review Greenidge ADVERTISEMENT

Groups file suit to review Greenidge

FINGER LAKES--Two local environmental groups have filed suit in Yates County Supreme Court challenging the environmental review of the restart of the Greenidge power plant conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Article 78 proceeding filed Oct. 28, 2016 by the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes (CPFL) and the Coalition to Protect New York (CPNY) charges that DEC's determination that the restart of the Greenidge power plant in Dresden would have no significant adverse impacts was based on an inadequate review that did not comply with the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The groups are represented by attorneys Richard Lippes from Buffalo and Rachel Treichler from Hammondsport.
"We are concerned that DEC did not look at all the areas of environmental concern and did not give adequate consideration to the concerns they did identify," said Peter Gamba from Jerusalem, president of CPFL. "For example, the DEC review did not consider the impacts of building a 4.6 mile gas pipeline near the Keuka Outlet and the Lockwood coal ash landfill to the plant or the impacts of placing new waste into the Lockwood landfill. The economic benefits of restarting the plant could be outweighed by the harm done to Seneca Lake. These issues need to be examined before the plant is allowed to restart."
"A fundamental concern we have is that DEC's review compared operations at the restarted plant to prior operations when they should have compared restarted operations to a baseline of no operations," said Kate Bartholomew from Montour Falls, treasurer of CPNY. "The plant has not operated for five and a half years, and no operations is the baseline that should have been used. DEC also failed to evaluate the climate change impacts of burning natural gas and the lifecycle emissions of producing natural gas despite a new SEQRA requirement that climate change impacts be considered."
"DEC failed to adequately consider the impacts of the huge water withdrawals from Seneca Lake and the huge water discharges into the Keuka Outlet and Seneca Lake," said Linda Downs from Torrey, a member of CPFL. "DEC is proposing to allow withdrawals of up to 160,000,000 gpd from the lake and discharges of up to 190,000,000 gpd of into Keuka Outlet and Seneca Lake. Even with no operations we are seeing harmful algae blooms in the lake around the Outlet. DEC should have looked at the impacts of the heated discharges and how those impacts might be different in the future due to increasing climate change, but DEC gave no consideration to this issue."
In a related action, CPFL and CPNY submitted a petition to the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) Oct. 17, 2016 asking the PSC for a rehearing of its orders issuing certificates of convenience for the Greenidge generating station and pipeline project. The petition to the PSC charges that PSC's reliance on DEC's inadequate environmental review of the Greenidge restart project violated SEQRA.
Copies of the petitions filed with the Yates County Supreme Court and the PSC are posted at

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