Neuhaus, Davis applaud denial of permit for CPV plant

Steve Neuhaus

Both Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus and Democratic candidate Pat Davis applaud the state’s decision to deny a crucial permit for the gas pipeline that would supply the Competitive Power Ventures plant being built in Wawayanda, a major setback for that $900 million project and a victory for the environmentalists who have doggedly fought it.

In statements emailed to the Times Herald-Record on Thursday, both the Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger cited the taint of corruption in the plant’s approval process, referring to the pending bribery charges against Joe Percoco, a former longtime top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., a former CPV executive. But one noticeable difference in their statements was that Davis praised the plant’s opponents and echoed the objections they have raised – namely, that the plant would operate on natural gas obtained through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and that it would emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Davis, who already had declared his opposition to the 650-megawatt power plant, credited the “tireless efforts” of the activists who have clamored against the project – “even in the face of tough odds” – and thanked the DEC ”for listening and stepping up to do the right thing.”

Pat Davis

“The interests of our residents should not be outweighed by those who seek to circumvent the rules, especially when it puts our environment and the health of our families at risk,” Davis wrote. “Going forward, we must continue to monitor further developments and keep the pressure on our elected officials and agencies to prioritize the interests and health of the people.”

Neuhaus, in his statement, noted the county’s successful court fight to prevent Millenium Pipeline from seizing county property through eminent domain for its gas pipeline until it had gotten all of its permits. And he recalled his response to the corruption charges that involved CPV last year, when he urged state officials to review all permits that state agencies had issued for the project. He added in his statement that the administration and state lawmakers should demand such a review and release a report on the findings as soon as possible.

“Regardless of what one feels about CPV or Millennium, the arrests of people associated with the CPV project call each and every aspect of its approval into question,” he said.

Asked if Neuhaus objects to the plant’s use of fracked gas, his spokesman, Justin Rodriguez, responded: “The County Executive has an objection to using any kind of gas until a full review is done. The process, which was tainted with corruption, needs to be investigated, no matter what type of gas is used. Once corrupted, the process needed to be fully reviewed before signed off on.”

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    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

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