Premium Energy withdraws proposal to build hydro plant at Ashokan

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Opponent of the hydro-plant line up against it recently

OLIVEBRIDGE – Following a large scale effort by local environmental organizations led by State Senator Michelle Hinchey to block a proposal by California-based Premium Holdings from building a hydroelectric plant adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir, the company said it would withdraw its application.

It said, though, that it would consider submitting a revised proposal for a similar project around the Neversink Reservoir or Rondout Reservoir.

Had the Ashokan project moved forward, it “would have destroyed the purity of our drinking water, devastated our protected Catskills wilderness, and displaced entire communities,” said Hinchey.

She said they are awaiting an amended proposal from Premium Energy and “are continuing to monitor this issue to make sure that siting decisions are being made carefully and with minimal impacts on our communities and environments.”

Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s research director, said the community “must seek and advance truly sustainable approaches to our energy needs and realize what is at stake in areas preserved for their importance to water quality, recreation, natural habitats, and other ‘eco-system benefits’.”

She said while they are glad Premium Energy is pulling out of the Ashokan proposal, “we remain concerned and engaged around the potential for this type of project to pop at another reservoir.”