CPV

CPV is a 680 megawatt fracked gas power plant located in the town of Wawayanda bordering Middletown, New York. It is 1 mile from the junction of Route 6 and Dolson Avenue, near ShopRite.  CPV is partially replacing Indian Point which provided 80% of downstate New York’s carbon-free power and 25% of downstate New York’s general power for 4 decades safely, reliably, and cleanly with nearly 0% carbon emissions.

CPV will not provide power to Orange County even though it will have significant adverse long and short term health and environmental effects. All of the power generated will be sent to NYC. CPV is currently operating without a Title V Air Permit, as per the Clean Air Act.

 

CPV Health Effects Part 1 Air Pollution and Particulate Matter 2.5

A 2020 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that 90,000 – 360,000 deaths in the U.S. are linked to air pollution per year. A 2019 study reviewed the medical records of veterans who died and compared with the air pollution levels in their zip codes. They focused on PM 2.5, or inhalable particulate matter pollution that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Despite their size, these particles are visible as “smog” pollution when PM 2.5 levels are high.

The MIT study, along with 2019 study from the EPA, linked particulate matter pollution to the following effects and causes of death: strokes, aneurysms, heart attacks, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, reduced brain volume, lung and other cancers, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, reproductive and developmental harm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, asthma, dementia, pneumonia, hypertension, and cognitive effects.

CPV burns fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale Region to generate power. “Fracking” is a method of drilling thousands of feet down into a shale rock formation and forcing millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals down the well at such intense pressures that it creates fractures in the rock which release natural gas.

This process has and continues this to destroy countless ecosystems, aquifers, and lives in the Marcellus region, displacing people and wildlife. NYS banned fracking in 2015, but hypocritically continues to build fracked natural gas power plants, such as CPV in Middletown NY.

Air emissions from shale gas facilities are composed primarily of five toxic chemicals, after Methane and CO2: Nitrogen Oxides (40%), Carbon Monoxide (30%), Volatile Organic Compounds (12%), Formaldehyde (3%), Particulate Matter (3%). Not only is the gas itself toxic, but known carcinogens (substances and exposures that lead to cancer) are used to “efficiently” burn it. 

Particulate Matter coming from CPV is small enough to pass through the lung tissue and into the bloodstream of local residents, circulating through our bodies like the oxygen molecules we need to survive. The toxic effects from high exposures to this mixture are determined by proportion the closer you are to CPV, the worse effects will be. Middletown and Wawayanda will be the most affected, but the health effect radius spans 15 miles: Goshen, Chester, Monroe, Florida, Pine Island, Warwick, Montgomery, Scotchtown, Bullbille, Circleville, Bloomingburg, Wurtsboro, Otisville, Minisink and all the small towns in between will still be affected. 

CPV Health Effects Part 2 Short and Long Term

From February 2018 to March 2019 Protect Orange County conducted a health survey of local residents in regard to CPV. Participants reported symptoms such as burning eyes, throat and mouths, headaches, nausea, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulties as far as Port Jervis and Warwick. 

The following towns will be most affected by CPV: Middletown, Wawayanda, Monroe, Chester, Florida, Pine Island, Goshen, Scotchtown, Warwick, Montgomery, Bullville, Wurtsboro, Bloomingburg, Minisink, Circleville, Otisville, and all the small towns in between. In early 2018, CPV used its backup diesel fuel for start-up tests because its gas pipeline wasn’t fully built. 

It was reported that children missed school and adults missed work due to health impacts from this plant. There were also 26 reports of pet respiratory problems and skin irritations. These incidents decreased after CPV started using natural gas, but the reports of health effects and odors continued even after July 9th, 2019 when Millenium reported service began on Valley Lateral Pipeline. 

29 people reported health impacts from CPV after a several day period where air monitors reported excessive particulate matter readings. This is a Particulate Matter 2.5 reading of CPV by Protect Orange County. The horizontal grey dotted line in the green section is the recommended average PM 2.5 level of 35 ug/m3 as per the EPA air quality standards. 

In addition to Protect Orange County’s study Senator Jen Metzger who represents Wawayanda and its neighboring towns, also fielded 79 responses to a 14 question survey. Respiratory problems, throat issues, and headaches were the most common complaints, according to her office. Others reported ailments including nosebleeds, nausea, and rashes.

In 2019, a year after CPV began operating, The Record reported an alarming “uptick in patients with pollution related breathing problems” who “never had a history of smoking” in the area. Fracking wells and fracked gas power plants emit the same emissions and pollutants.  In Dimock-Susquehanna and Bradford County in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, fracking began in 2008.

In 2010/11 residents reported effects like nosebleeds, rashes, and headaches. Ten years later, clusters of residents are experiencing Ewing’s sarcoma which occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. It is mainly found in teenagers and children, but can affect any age. Childhood leukemia and HodgKin’s-Lymphoma along with other rare cancers, have seen an increase among young and old in the region as well.

The health effects we are seeing today in Orange County echo the reports from 2010/11 in the Marcellus Shale Region. The breathing in particulate matter makes people 8% more likely to die from Covid-19. This means that the already vulnerable community of Middletown, will be all the more susceptible to the virus because of CPV. 

 

CPV and Global Warming

In 2017, Cuomo announced the closure of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant by 2021.  Indian Point provided 80% of NYC’s power with zero carbon emissions. The CPV and Cricket Valley natural gas power plants are part of the replacement of Indian Point. These two plants will increase NYS carbon emissions by 25%. CPV alone will raise them 10%.

Scientists calculate that the carbon-free power lost from Indian Point alone will negate all clean energy produced by wind and solar power in NYS. Emissions are expected to return back to 2010 levels or more even though NY has pledged to bring greenhouse gas emissions down 40% by 2030, and eliminate all emissions by 2050.

So far, NY has only managed to reduce its emissions by 8% from 1990 to 2015. Methane traps 86 times as much heat over a 20-year period, and warms the atmosphere at nearly 30 times the rate of CO2. Methane leaks erase any climate benefit from switching from coal-fired power to gas.

The inconvenient truth behind natural gas is that it is a greenhouse gas without even ever being burned! “In the US, the gas industry as a whole was responsible for more emissions than coal [in 2017] for the first time,” according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

A common argument in favor of CPV is that natural gas is a “clean” fuel. It’s true that natural gas releases half as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned but methane, a super potent greenhouse gas (and big component of natural gas), has a larger impact on the climate. Natural gas releases methane into the air, polluting it at every stage: from well, to pipeline, to power plant.

Cuomo continues to run on a clean energy platform, yet he has accepted campaign donations from CPV. His former top aide, James Percoco, whom Cuomo described as his father’s “third son”, is currently serving in Otisville Correctional Facility for accepting $300K in bribes from CPV.  New York State banned fracking in 2015……but has no problem burning fracked gas at power plants like CPV.

Global temperature is on track to rise by an average of 6°C (10.8°F). Some scientists argue a “global disaster” is already unfolding at the poles of the planet; and that Earth may soon pass one or more “tipping points”. A 25% increase in New York State greenhouse gas emissions is unacceptable. CPV must be shut down!

CPV Was Built on Protected Wetlands

Wetlands are protected because they: 

  • Filter our drinking water
  • Recharge our aquifers and groundwater
  • Contain vital biodiversity
  • Absorb floodwaters 
  • Help fight climate change by absorbing CO2

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. The wetland where CPV is built is the home to many endangered and threatened species. During the building of the Millennium Pipeline, CPV destroyed a known bald eagle nest. Bald eagles are endangered and federally protected by law.

Middletown is home to a 1,246 acre watershed, consisting of Middletown’s primary water sources: Monhagen, Shawangunk, and Highland Lakes. Middletown is selling this water to CPV.

CPV sits along Carpenters Creek and it’s wetlands, which is a tributary to the Wallkill River, and ultimately, the Hudson River. 

In the event of a spill, or leak at CPV, Hudson Valley residents’ water could be poisoned from Wawayanda to as far as Kingston, NY. Recently in Middletown’s Dunning Road Plaza (A.C.Moore/Petsmart), there was a mysterious incidence of Mass Crow Deaths. Upon investigation, Ethylene Glycol was found in tissue samples from the crows. This is a chemical that is used in CPV’s cooling systems.

As a result of the mass death, and its proximity to the Wallkill River, a very likely possible source of poisoning is the CPV plant. CPV puts local citizens with well water at risk, who are dependant on the wetlands’ filtration system and recharging of the aquifers to supply their groundwater, and also affects the entire Hudson Valley’s water supply by emitting toxic pollutants into the air that will re-enter our water systems and acid rain.

Our local legislators have failed us, and allowed CPV to literally put a toxic power plant on our water filter. The worst part is by law, building on wetlands isn’t permitted. Former Rep. Senator John Bonacic and his daughter Melissa Bonacic, formerly of the Mount Hope County Legislature, took the Route 6 Wetland off the Protected Wetland Map in order to allow CPV to be built. His son Scott represented and supported CPV at the Town Board Planning Meetings.

 

CPV Built On Corruption

CPV corruption allegedly began in July 2006 with a “horse’s head in the pool”. Town of Wawayanda Democratic councilwoman Gail Soro opposed CPV early on. The Record reported that “Soro’s been right in the middle of the tussles over growth and planning that are the hot-button issues in the town [of Wawayanda]”. While it was never proven who tried to intimidate her, it is factual that CPV was asking for Planning permission at this time.

Peter Braithe Kelly Jr. is CPV’s former executive. His father is American Lobbyist and Political Consultant Peter Kelly Sr., who co-founded Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the US with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Manafort is the former Trump campaign chairman, and Roger Stone was recently found guilty of obstructing the Trump-Russia investigation.

CPV was built on bribery. In 2018, Kelly Jr. pleaded guilty for his role in a pay to play scheme, where he bribed Governor Cuomo’s influential ex-top aide, James Percoco, by “hiring” his wife Lisa for a $90,000 a year low-show education job at CPV. Kelly Jr. served 14 months in jail after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and corruption for bribing James Percoco. Percoco is still serving time in Otisville Correctional Facility. He streamlined CPV’s permitting process as a result of the bribes received from Kelly Jr. in 2012 – 2016.

Testimony from the Percoco trial supports that CPV facilitated this bribery scheme. It was revealed that the CPV Head of Accounting noticed what was going on, and confronted the CPV President but was told to stay out of it.” While the media narrative was that “Percoco was a greedy public official who wanted to extort money out of CPV”, the reality is, based on court testimony, that CPV enticed Percoco into this bribery scheme.

CPV was also granted retired emissions credits by NYS. Emissions credits are basically permission to pollute. When a plant shuts down in a state, the pollution they emit comes offline, and becomes a credit that can be bought or sold. To limit pollution they allow facilities to emit a certain amount of pollution, which cannot be exceeded without additional emissions credit. A plant shut down in Long Island, and NYS bought the credits to retire them completely to comply with climate change initiatives. However, instead of retiring them, NYS sold them to CPV for a million dollars. 

The credits bought specifically for CPV in Wawayanda were expired and invalid credits from Pennsylvania.In court this was considered part of the corruption, and it was revealed that selling those credits to CPV in Wawayanda were expired and invalid credits from Pennsylvania. In court this was considered part of the corruption, and it was revealed that selling those credits to CPV was AGAINST the public interest of NYS. 

Where was Cuomo in all of this? It was revealed in James Percoco’s trial that the first bribed request CPV had for Percoco was to get the state to shut down Indian Point. This was to create a market for natural gas plants like CPV, Cricket Valley, and now Danskammer in Newburgh. Governor Cuomo suddenly began calling Indian Point a “ticking time bomb” and announced its closure in 2017, but the announcement was largely silent because of the obvious and catastrophic down state carbon emissions impact. As soon as Indian Point was shut down, Cricket Valley was approved. Cuomo received major campaign donations from CPV despite pledging to lower NYS emissions, he has allowed CPV to operate, which will increase NYS power sector emissions by 10%. 

How is it that the Town of Wawayanda politicians, governing a population of >7,000 were able to make a decision that would adversely affect the lives of 28,000 Middletown residents who have no say in the matter? How is it that Wawayanda receives $800K in compensation from CPV every year, while Middletown gets nothing? How could CPV build a $900 million gas fracked power plant on a protected wetland? How could the DEC allow CPV to dodge emissions standards through buying expired credits? How can CPV operate a fracked gas power plant in a state where fracking is illegal- during in a time where scientists claim the climate crisis has reached its “tipping point”? Corruption. 

CPV facilitated a bribery scheme to get around laws that protect our health, community, and environment. This plant was fraudulently permitted. Corruption and bribery continue now through the permitting process, as CPV is currently operating without its Title Five Air Permit. CPV must be shut down. Sign the 3 petitions below and stay tuned for further action steps.

 

  1. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/built-on-bribes-pull-the-plug-on-the-cpv-fracked-gas-plant-now
  2. https://www.change.org/p/nys-attorney-general-letitia-james-asking-for-a-fll-investigation-into-the-cpv-fracked-gas-powerplant-by-nys-attorney-general?recruiter=757181551&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&u
  3. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/S8809

 

Bibliography:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-20/natural-gas-moves-to-the-naughty-list

http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/covid-pm

http://www.pressreader.com/usa/pittsburgh-post-gazette/20190512/281484572826416

http://jamanetwork.com//journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2755672

http://www.lung.org/clean-air/outdoors/whatmakes-air-unhealthy/particle-pollution