Town Board Meeting Disrupted on Earth Day!

Also visit Protect Orange County and/or Neighbors United For the Facts for updates.


On the evening of April 22nd about 30 people from the Minisink Area attended a Rally outside the Town of Waywanada Town Hall. This effort was orchestrated to continue pressuring the planning board, letting them know that their rapid permitting of the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center is abhorrent. As the clock moved close to 7pm the rally of 30 took space inside with signs like “Don’t sell us out” and messaging that encompass a concern for the Hudson Valley Bioregion, and all of its inhabitants. CPV was on the top of the board’s formal agenda and Vice President Steve Remillard once again was in attendance. CPV is currently seeking a Power Purchase Agreement with the State of NY so they can break ground as early as June of this year.

Outside Waywayanda Town Hall

When the first board members started filing in there was a notable look of disgust that we were in attendance, with one of the board members groaning and muttering “it’s useless.” This set the tone for a turn of events outside of their favor. At that moment a shift in energy was about the room, One audience goer started the heckling by clapping and sarcastically exclaiming “You’re all doing such a good job here, keep up the good work.” It was apparent to all of the community members in attendance that their presence was being ignored, they knew the amendments to CPVs already approved 640MW energy center would be voted on unanimously so it was important that the community rather than mope and give up– stood up. The minor mitigations mentioned during the board meeting suggested a “greener CPV” which of course is anything but true.

This could be viewed as the first collective Direct Action in this campaign against CPV. Direct Action is defined as doing something without asking “power” for permission. When the whole crowd started jeering the board members chanting “shame on you” this was not taken so well by the board, the gavel cracked -“SHUT UP!” exclaimed by a councilwoman. But the crowd could not be subdued. In an attempt to ignore the chorus of people chanting the board tried to continue on and take their vote- But when “Any neighs?” was asked the community chimed in with a resounding “neigh.” At this point Steven Remillard fled the room, feeling the pressure on his back, but not before snapping a few pics on his iPhone and slithering away before two State Troopers arrived.

 Despite the expected vote of approval, this event was an exercise in community empowerment, a much needed escalation of tactics in the face of corrupt officials and a greedy corporation. This must continue to happen until this project is stopped. The “host community” is not impressed by the impunity of the Town of Waywayanda Board, a point that was made abundantly clear last night.

 This is just the beginning- We won’t stop until you do.

Source: Times Harold Record
Source: Times Harold Record

Hudson Valley Earth First! is a 100% volunteer run collective that funds its actions and operations by tabeling, doing workshops, and from your donations.

for any booking inquiries please contact

HudsonValleyEarthFirst@gmail.com!

Emotional Crowd Weighs In On Power Plant Planned for Wawayanda

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Pramilla Malick of Westtown addresses the planning board at Wednesday night’s hearing in Wawayanda. DAWN J. BENKO/For the Times Herald-Record
By Richard J. Bayne
Times Herald-Record

WAWAYANDA – “An overflow crowd of about 400 packed Town Hall on Wednesday night as the town Planning Board took comments on site plan revisions for the proposed $900 million gas-fired power-generating plant Competitive Power Ventures wants to build on a 122-acre parcel off Route 6.

About 30 people spoke during the contentious 90-minute hearing. The crowd was about evenly divided between union members, who have supported the plant for the 500 construction jobs its backers have said it would create, and environmentalists and local residents, who voiced fears about toxic gases, cancer, asthma and plummeting property values.

“Twenty years from now, this plant will be obsolete,” said Gregory Winner, a Wawayanda resident. “This is a mistake, and we will have sold the soul of this town.”

“I love you guys,” said town resident Madeline Shaw, indicating the union members. “I want you to work. But somebody tell me, who is benefiting from this?”

Local labor leaders, including Todd Diorio, president of the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council, reminded opponents that the proposed plant has passed all its reviews.

Responding to complaints from environmentalists who said that out-of-area union workers were packing the hearing, Sam Fratto, business manager of IBEW Local 363, pointed out union members in the audience who live in the town. “If you use electricity, you need this plant,” Fratto said.

Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership, spoke in favor of the plant, saying it would create much-needed jobs and millions in taxes.

Steve Remillard, CPV’s vice president, development, opened the hearing by outlining the proposed site plan revisions, including altering the entrance on Route 6, reducing the overall footprint by about 18 percent and minimizing the impact on a nearby wetland.

Remillard said CPV is prepared to go ahead with construction, even if the board turns down the requested changes. The Planning Board chairwoman, Barbara Parsons, said the vote on the revisions is expected April 22. The plant has passed all air-quality reviews, including studies done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Remillard said construction is expected to start early in the fourth quarter of this year, and possibly earlier. Remillard said the plant is still waiting for its power purchase agreement with the New York Power Authority.

The planned 640-megawatt plant, which has been going through the approval process for the past six years, would be located on a parcel bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84.

The firm has agreed to pay the Town of Wawayanda $8.2 million over 22 years under a “host” agreement CPV negotiated with a local development corporation created by the town. Wawayanda will also receive $2.8 million in property taxes over the same period under an agreement between CPV and the Orange County Industrial Development Corp.”

dbayne@th-record.com

Upcoming public hearing April 8th – CPV requests amended site plan – Just Say No

CPV is requesting amendment to the conditional site plan granted to them by the Town of Wawayanda Planning Board

Let your voices against this outrage be heard and give em hell!

No CPV Power Plant! No Compromise!

Wawayanda Town Hall, Ridgebury Hill Road, Slate Hill, New York 10973 on April 8, 2015 at 7:30 P.M.

http://townofwawayanda.com/index.php/doc-center/public-hearings-public-notices/649-cpv-public-hearing-april-8-2014/file.html

On Winning- and the “NY State of Mind”

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Ya’ll should also enjoy this recently written article written by Sasha, of the Earth First! Journal Collective!  

In the beginning of 2015, to the astonishment of many-  Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he will be putting forth a statewide ban on Horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HDD or “fracking”) in so called New York. For years, the prospect of fracking within the “empire” state loomed over our heads. With many fearing just “how many people have to feel the impacts of drilling first hand to convince the state we don’t need this?” The fact that fracking is now banned in New York is certainly a victory, owed to grassroots persistence not Cuomo or his administration. While the ban is a big sigh of relief, it certainly falls flat. If we’ve learned anything from our former (farce) of a moratorium on fracking it’s that “banning” the drilling for fracked gas on paper actually has done nothing to stop growing infrastructure projects and by all stretches of the imagination cannot. From the gas storage facility in Finger Lakes, all the pipelines crisscrossing the state, the recently built Minisink Compressor station, and beyond.

 

Untitled

Regionally, our networks need to escalate our resistance to gas infrastructure by cross pollination, skill shares and shut them down with creative and effective direct action.

Locally we should turn our attention to the Power Plant being planned for western Orange County and throw this project into the trash before its too late!

Your friendly neighborhood Hudson Valley Earth First!ers are continuing to meet with community members, form bonds, stare at lines on maps/piles of documents, and generally get shit done from; speaking all over the north-east and beyond, showing up to these big wigs conferences and business meetings souring their self-congratulatory audiences.

what happens next?

Now we must show Competitive Power Ventures they should have no hopes of building it’s proposed Valley View Energy Power plant, A 640-megawatt dirty gas project that if built in Quarter Four of 2015 will take up 30 acres of an 122 acre tract, (of mostly marshy wetlands) it will include two fabulous smokestacks that will pump out VOC’s as easy as 1,2,3 and above all else will cost a cool $900M to build.. All that for the promise of $2.8 Million in tax revenue and about 25 permanent jobs. Fantastic.

CPV Valley Energy’s website erroneously claims the Valley Energy Center is some kind of “custom-designed solution to meet the growing electricity needs of the region.” When the fact still remains: the inhabitants of this area want no part in this filth at all. If we allow this plague on the “Hudson Valley” we should not be surprised when greed- and growth for the sake of growth prevail. The key investors of CPV’s nightmare- Warbug Pincus and Steven Remillard, have no right to decide what is or is not vital to this ecosystem based on some arbitrary EIS approval that points out exactly what we are up for if this project ever became reality.

“The Final EIS evaluates the environmental impacts identified in the DEIS Scope, and the comments provided in response to the DEIS. Impacts evaluated include impacts on land and land use, visual resources, air quality, noise, wetlands, and water resources, socioeconomics, traffic, cultural resources, soils, geology, and seismology, and wildlife”

*taken from FEIS
approved

We must always remember that these industry types are not our friends nor our community and are the exact same people(s) who actively to plan to destroy both. Reading all of CPV’s findings or “best practices” to maintain compliance with the state, and it’s agencies are completely nonsensical- from noting “Ideal conditions for threatened Bog Turtles,” finding the Georgia Bulrush, a plant Species of Greatest Conservation Need, disrespecting the burial grounds of the Ramapough-Lenape Tribe, potential impacts to Indiana Bats and migratory songbirds, and the list goes on and on (Page 30 EIS). But these things are of no importance to the Gas industry they only see dollar bills and you and I are “misinformed” “arrogant” or “criminal” for seeing through the smoke and mirrors.

Conveniently- Competitive Power Ventures have been seeking “New York’s” “energy highway” initiative- which gives funding to energy projects…. If Cuomo or Dr. Zucker were truly sincere about their concerns of health impacts the “energy highway” wouldn’t be a fast lane to dirty energy (The now built Minisink Compressor Station not only applied for energy to highway, but pointed to CPV as a reason why they should be granted funding before it was even built!). With all of the permits in the hands of CPV  they are now seeking out the remaining 3/4th of the funding. Local community members have gone as far to demand the state does not give a single cent, sending a community written letter to Albany however, when Competitive Power Ventures submitted it’s Energy to Highway application it was well…. drooled upon by the following:

sellouts

Our resistance has been seeded all over- and soon will take root. Our collective power can only flourish this spring.

A truly holistic approach to combating this menace is underway encompassing many ways of thinking- acting, and reacting Steve Remillard may think he’s on the “1 yard line” but we have the homefield advantage.

We will win.

Hudson Valley Earth First! is a 100% volunteer run collective that funds its actions and operations by tabeling, doing workshops, and from your donations.

for any booking inquiries please contact

HudsonValleyEarthFirst@gmail.com!

Written by Crabgrass

cross posted from More Trees Records

Graphics by Crabgrass

Video by CG

Construction of $900M power plant in Wawayanda set to start this year

By Richard J. Bayne
re-posted fromTimes Herald-Record

January 31. 2015 3:41PM

A rendering of the 640-megawatt, gas-fired power-generating plant that would be located on land bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84 in the Town of Wawayanda.

A rendering of the 640-megawatt, gas-fired power-generating plant that would be located on land bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84 in the Town of Wawayanda.

WAWAYANDA – Construction on a gas-fired power-generating plant, to be built on a 122-acre parcel off Route 6, will begin early in the fourth quarter of this year, a principal at Competitive Power Ventures Holdings said.

Steve Remillard, CPV’s vice president, development, said the company has cleared all its regulatory hurdles to build the $900 million, 640-megawatt plant and, Remillard said, they’re “working diligently on commercialization,” which means solidifying financing and lining up customers.

The CPV office that has been overseeing planning for the proposed Wawayanda plant is in Braintree, Mass., which is caught up in football fever this Super Bowl weekend as the New England Patriots get set for the matchup in Phoenix, so Remillard used a football analogy.

“We’re in the end zone,” he said. “We’ve gotten all the approvals. We’re there.”

CPV has said the plant, which has been going through the approval process for the past six years, would be located on a parcel bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84. Remillard said plans call for the plant to occupy 30 acres. The remaining 92 would be buffer. He anticipates a 31-month construction timetable.

The proposed CPV plant was the focus of a Jan. 17 demonstration by a coalition of environmental groups and neighbors. One of the key organizers of that protest, Pramilla Malick of Westtown, reacting to the latest news from CPV, said their fight is not over.

“We will continue to hold that company (CPV), and any other company that assumes ownership of that plant, accountable for the health and safety of the community,” Malick said Friday.

Opponents contend the plant would spew toxic emissions that would harm many parts of the Hudson Valley. They also have raised the possibility of damage to archaeological sites, including Native American burial grounds and early European settlements.

CPV has said the proposed plant passed all air-quality reviews, even studies done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and a consultant to the Town of Wawayanda. A consultant concluded there are “no significant archaeological resources” on the site, company documents say.

In their latest move to try to block construction, opponents have sent a letter with 1,500 signatures and bearing the names of 40 organizations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Public Service Commission, calling on New York state to stop the project.

CPV says the project will create 500 jobs for the construction phase and 25 once it comes online.

The firm has agreed to pay the Town of Wawayanda $8.2 million over 22 years under a “host” agreement CPV negotiated with a local development corporation created by the town. Wawayanda will also receive $2.8 million in property taxes over the same period under an agreement between CPV and the Orange County Industrial Development Corp.

Taxes to the town, the county and Minisink Valley schools will be phased in over 22 years. Overall, the company is expected to pay $46.4 million in property taxes during that period. That includes $32.6 million to the school district, and $5.6 million to the county. The company would pay an estimated $5.3 million in taxes to the New Hampton Fire District in that time.

dbayne@th-record.com

Proposed power plant comes under fire

By Richard J. Bayne
Times Herald-Record

January 17. 2015 9:53PM

WAWAYANDA – A coalition of environmental groups Saturday joined with neighbors who say they would be harmed by a proposed gas-fired power-generating plant and the chief of a local Native American tribe to stage a Martin Luther King weekend protest against the $900 million project.

“It’s a civil right to have clean air and clean water,” said Melanie Gold of Greenwood Lake.

Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough-Lenape Tribe talked about “environmental genocide.” “You’ve all become Indians now,” Perry said. “That’s how they’re treating you.”

About 75 people gathered at the intersection of Dolson Avenue and Route 6 for an hour-long rally protesting the proposed, 640-megawatt Competitive Power Ventures plant. They raised the specter of toxic emissions and damage to archeological sites. CPV wants to locate the power-generating plant on a 122-acre site that would be bounded by Route 6, Route 17M and I-84.

Plans call for the plant to occupy 30 acres, said Steve Remillard, CPV’s vice president for development. The remaining 92 acres would be buffer.

In a telephone interview Saturday night, Remillard responded to the protesters’ concerns, saying his firm has had “reams” of analysis done and “very rigorous” modeling on air quality, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation has given its OK. He said the Town of Wawayanda had an air-quality expert do a review.

Remillard said the proposed plant has been going through the review process since 2008, and that a number of agencies have given the plans an OK. He said CPV is very close to obtaining final review. “We’re on the 1-yard line,” he said.

Another key issue the protesters raised Saturday is archeological significance, including proximity to homes of early European settlers and Fort Dolson, and the possibility of disturbing Native American burial grounds.

A consultant hired by Remillard’s firm concluded that “no significant archaeological resources have been identified” on the proposed CPV site.

At Saturday’s demonstration, many protesters expressed concerns that emissions would harm residents who live nearby. They said many parts of the Hudson Valley would be affected, and farming in the Black Dirt Region could be destroyed.

“This valley is like a bowl, said Pramilla Malick of Westtown, who led Saturday’s demonstration. “The air gets trapped.”

Joan Sichterman, a retired Orange-Ulster BOCES teacher who lives in Wawayanda, about two miles from the proposed site, said she would have to move if the plant were to go into operation. “The life I have built will be over,” she said.

dbayne@th-record.com

Did Somebody Say Direct Action? What’s Missing from the Victory Narrative

toxic-avenger

by Sasha / Earth First! Journal

We have heard a lot about what stopped the fracking boom in New York after Governor Cuomo banned it last week.

While some insist that faltering prices that did the gas boom in, others credit the seven-year legal battle with stopped the practice. The running narrative is that it’s a combination of grassroots political involvement—going to public hearings, submitting comments, and doing ecological studies. But there’s another element people aren’t talking about as much.

What we don’t hear about is the intense blossoming of direct action that has generated a network of several Earth First! groups who have been working diligently to shut down fracking operations and natural gas infrastructure for the last six years. This movement spans a gamut of tactics, from protests to blockades to other escapades. It has been upsetting business as usual, costing the corporations money and the politicians credit.

In short, it’s working.

EF! in the Mix

The Marcellus Shale Earth First! Network sprung into action soon after the first wells started getting tested, and rapidly assembled several groups around the Marcellus, including Hudson Valley EF! (HVEF!) and Finger Lakes EF! (FLEF!), which have been active in direct action struggles.

In May of this year, Hudson Valley Earth First! (HVEF!) disrupted the 9th annual Northeast Power and Gas Markets Conference in New York City, sending home the message that fracking would not be accepted in the state.

Other groups involved have been Susquehanna Valley EF!, Genessee Valley EF!, and Occupy WELL Street.

“This campaign has been going on for almost two years, but now it’s getting serious,” said April Rogers, a member of HVEF! “If trucks show up, we’ll be there to stop them!”

Indeed, two years before the disruption in NYC, HVEF! stopped construction on a compressor station in Minisink, NY, along the Millenium Pipeline.

EF! has been engaged in this movement since the Newswire has been in existence, protesting outside of public hearings, drawing a spotlight with outrageous actions, and growing the movement.

In Winter of last year, MSEF! went on an extensive tour of New York and Pennsylvania, spreading the good word about direct action against fracking after a crucial victory defending the Loyalsock State Forest from fracking in Pennsylvania.

As the collective put it at the time, “MSEF! is a creative and growing movement, and sharing our struggle with others around PA and NY made it clear that the campaign to defend the Loyalsock is one that will unite many people.”

Prior to halting fracking in the Loyalsock, MSEF! engaged in a prolonged campaign against the Tennessee Pipeline through a lockdown, two consecutive treesits, and a two-week road blockade matched with a nine-day treesit.

The MSEF! network also shut down fracking operations in the Tiadaghton State Forest earlier this year and blockaded fracking trucks in the Moshannon State Forest in 2012.

Despite tremendous resistance, fracking in Pennsylvania is still going on, and activists continue to work to shut it down.

The Infrastructure Fight Still Needs Support

While the EF! network has been holding action camps and engaging in a number of campaigns, perhaps the largest of the area’s anti-gas struggles has been the We Are Seneca Lake campaign.

In a three-week blockade this November, 19 people were arrested halting construction of Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on Seneca Lake.

Just this month, more than 100 people attended a demonstration outside of the court where the arrested were being arraigned. That day, nine more people were arrested locking themselves to the gates of Crestwood’s facility.

This came after a peaceful blockade in March which saw the arrest of 12 activists. Three more were arrested at their trial in April.

In total, some 92 people have been arrested in the movement to halt the Crestwood facility—a rousing campaign that is ongoing and needs your support!

If the movement against gas transport and storage is still raging in New York, its visibility has thrown the spotlight on the controversial practice of fracking as well. Chesapeake EF! is involved in the ongoing campaign against fracking exports in the Maryland Cove Point facility, and other campaigns continue to build steam.

Movement Builders

The victory in New York is a key movement builder, because it helps us recognize the components that make them happen, and focus on the campaigns that need support with greater numbers and resources.

Direct action is just one piece of the larger puzzle to stop industrial exploitation and destruction of land and livelihood. And, with community rights movements, legal battles, and protest movements, it’s winning.

It is important to note that these actions have taken place not just in New York, but in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well. This is a bioregional struggle, and claiming success in New York is not the end. The movement to stop fracking won’t stop at legal battles; it relies on the vigilance of communities impacted by the unsafe practices, and it will continue to expand throughout the Marcellus Shale until all fracking operations are shut down once and for all.

No Compromise!

Hudson Valley Earth First! Nature Walk!

Hudson Valley Earth First! invites you to enjoy a nature hike in the Basha Kill Wildlife Refuge, This beautiful location is only mere miles from the proposed Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) “natural” gas power plant. Now more then ever individuals have been organizing against CPV and it’s aims and will not stop until the “shovel ready” project comes to a grinding halt.

We hope this hike will be a good place for neighbors, hikers, activists, and everyone in between to meet up and enjoy the beauty in the wild places our bio region has to offer.

For The Wild,

Your Friendly Neighborhood HVEF!ers

Activists gather outside the Middletown Times Harold Record offices.
  Activists gather outside the Middletown Times Herald-Record offices.