I am disappointed and frustrated by the lack of attention being given to the communities burdened by fracked-gas power plants. Despite vehement local opposition during NEPA’s scoping process, Cricket Valley Energy Center located in Dover Plains was approved and has recently begun operations. As a resident of Dover, it was particularly disheartening to observe the negligent process that embodied NYSDEC’s environmental assessment.
The Cricket Valley project was approved while the company was still in court responding to lawsuits filed by concerned citizens and disapproving neighbors. These lawsuits were recently amended to include new scientific evidence describing a link between COVID-19 death rates and regional air quality. The approval of this project will lead to increased air pollutant emissions in an already poorly rated Dutchess County, indicating a failure of the institutions responsible for safeguarding our rights as affected citizens.
Furthermore, Governor Cuomo’s ignorance towards Cricket Valley and the newly proposed Danskammer Power Plant in Newburgh illustrates the insincerity of his environmental agenda. Speaking last week at an Earth Day rally, Cuomo emphasized the need for action to mitigate climate change, rather than endless planning. The Governor’s history of promising a shift to green energy conveys the hypocrisy of his words.
As New York residents and environmental stakeholders, we must ensure that our reasonable demands for a safer future are prioritized by our elected representatives. We can no longer afford to allow our local perspectives to be overpowered by external interests. There is a finite amount of time to address these issues before they precipitate permanent damages to our personal well-being and the environment.