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Letter to the Editor - The Millerton News - 7-26-18

There’s more to know about Cricket Valley 

There’s more to the Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) story than the recent reporting in this newspaper reveals. The series of articles about the gas to electric power plant now under construction in Dover, N.Y., was unabashedly promotional, stating up front that “the information here was taken largely from Cricket Valley’s website,” exclusively quoting CVEC spokesmen, and omitting unfavorable details.  Questions residents have were downplayed, and referred to as concerns and worries.

Many details about the threat CVEC poses to our air quality were not included in the lengthy articles:  

From page 7 of the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) for CVEC, published by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): “The Project will be a major source of NOx and VOC, both precursors to ozone, for which the Project area has a nonattainment designation.”  To clarify a point made in the article, CVEC was required to secure i.e. purchase Emission Reduction Credits (ERCs) for the 322.11 tons per year (tpy) of NOx and 136 tpy of VOC it will be emitting when operational because the amounts are equal to 115 percent of the maximum permitted annual emissions.

From the same document, page 9, you find what exactly CVEC has been permitted to emit: “...191.9 ton per year (tpy) particulate matter (PM) facility limit; 191.9 tpy PM10 facility limit; 191.9 tpy PM2.5 facility limit; 569.9 tpy carbon monoxide facility limit; 46.9 tpy sulfur dioxide facility limit; 19.7 tpy hydrogen sulfide; 3, 597,766 tpy carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) facility limit; 3,576,943 tpy CO2e limit on the combustion turbine…”. I plugged the carbon dioxide equivalent tpy into a greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator on the EPA’s web site because I wanted to know how many cars would emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as CVEC  will emit and the answer was 770,400 passenger vehicles driven for one year.

From the same SEQR, page 13, the DEC says the construction of CVEC will “produce a net air quality benefit across the region…” . This was discussed at length in the articles, but a key point was omitted. The region referred to here is defined as stretching from Ontario to Virginia, and from New England to Illinois. The theory is that CVEC, because it is considered to be a more efficient plant, will put less efficient gas, diesel and coal plants across this “region” out of business and thus have  “a net air quality benefit.” There is no particular consideration  given to the air quality around the plant, instead it is across this vast region.

Missing entirely from the series of articles was a discussion — or even mention —  of how wind patterns, altitude, temperature, and humidity all determine where pollution settles.

Given the pollutants CVEC will be emitting and given that pollutants can travel great distances, it is safe to say that CVEC will only make our local air quality worse.

Helen Baldwin

Lakeville, Conn.