'There was no place to go'

Protestors at CPV power plant alarmed by 'chocking strong' emissions


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  • Protect Orange County protests the CPV power plant site on Jan. 27 (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




  • Alicia Weissman of Goshen, pictured left, said she smelled a strong diesel engine odor at her home on Jan. 24. (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




  • This photo of plumes rising from the CPV plant taken by Kathy Frahme of Protect Orange County




  • Protect Orange County protests the CPV power plant site on Jan. 27 (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)






  • Protect Orange County protests the CPV power plant site on Jan. 27 (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




  • Kathy Frame of Protect Orange County protests the CPV Power Plant site in Waywayanda on Jan. 27. Protect Orange County has held a protest there every Saturday morning for the past two years. CPV now acknowledges the plant is burning oil to test its stacks. (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




  • Protect Orange County protests the CPV power plant site on Jan. 27 (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)




By Frances Ruth Harris

Members of Protect Orange County protesting at the CPV power plant in Waywayanda on Jan. 27 said they were frightened and sickened by recent emissions from the plant.

Alicia Weissman, said the diesel fumes from the plant were "chokingly strong" near her home in Goshen. James Fiore, who lives near the plant, said he and his wife had headaches and a hard time breathing: "It was in every room in our home, and all around outside our home and our neighbor's home too. There was no place to go."

CPV is in the news this week because a key witness in a bribery trial says a former aide to Gov. Cuomo granted approvals to the plant, among other favors, in exchange for $300,00 in bribes (see related story).

Alicia Weissman: I was the one in the long purple coat carrying a sign saying “Fracked Gas Poisons Water in PA and Air in NY.” I started coming to these protests last spring and I am still using the same sign I made for the first Saturday I showed up.

Last Wednesday evening, Jan. 24, I was coming home from work around 8:30 p.m. On Maple Street in Goshen I started smelling a strong diesel engine odor. As I turned into my street facing northwest, I saw a heavy plume of smoke rising in the distance from the tree line, like something out of Mordor. I punched the recirculate button in the car to prevent more of the fumes from coming in. I thought there must be a house on fire but then I realized the plume was rising from exactly where the CPV plant is located. When I got to my garage, the fumes were chokingly strong. I was glad it was winter and none of the windows were open. I felt bad letting my dog out into that toxic air. The smell persisted until the next morning.

This happened the very first time they fired up the power plant. When and if the power plant starts burning fracked gas, the toxic fumes will be odorless but they will still be there. This power plant is in the middle of residential areas and should never have been approved. It should not be allowed to start operating.

The CPV power plant was proposed and approved before Indian Point’s closing was announced. Now the loss of Indian Point’s generating capacity is being used as justification for CPV. In fact, New York does not need the power that would be provided by CPV. Renewables, conservation, and other sources will be more than enough to replace Indian Point’s power.

The power plant was supposed to provide jobs. However looking at the license plates in the parking lot, many of the construction workers seem to be from out-of-state, and even more are from out of town. The few local jobs the power plant might provide are not worth decades of damage to our children from breathing its toxic fumes. Instead, local governments should be promoting community solar which would provide local jobs.

The power plant’s origin was shrouded in secrecy and corruption. Residents of Waywayanda had no idea their planning board was considering the power plant until after it was approved. Former CPV Senior VP Peter Kelly Jr. is currently on trial for allegedly paying bribes to Cuomo’s buddy Percoco to help promote the power plant. New York State denied the water permit needed to construct the pipeline that would supply fracked gas to the power plant, but the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) illegally overruled New York State's denial of the permit.

The CPV power plant is illegal, toxic, unwanted, and unneeded. In the 1980s, the Shoreham nuclear plant was fully constructed but never allowed to operate. That is what should happen to CPV.

Gregory Winner: First, what we experienced the other day when they did their "burn off," which is what I will call it, made many people finally aware of its existence. This "burn off" caused a very large plume of smoke or exhaust from the smokestacks at the plant. This discharge was very visible and caused much discomfort to those who experienced it, headaches and nausea in most cases. I suffered a slight headache. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though, because when the plant begins to burn the fracked natural gas there will not be large plume of smoke from the stacks. All that will be visible will be heat waves emitting from the stacks. We will not be aware of the other matter being discharged because it will be invisible, chemicals that are known to be cancer causing agents (the rest of the iceberg we won't see). The danger to us who live in close proximity to this plant is real.

Second, this is not the answer to power generation for our future. The answer is "blowing in the wind" and in the sunshine that takes eight and one-third minutes to come to us every day. Wind turbines and solar panels are our future if we are going to survive. There is much research also on geothermal and tidal power generation. The fossil fuel we use today is a finite fuel. Solar panels are currently be installed on many rooftops, many wind turbines installed on hilltops, and tidal turbines are being installed off shores. The sun, wind, geothermal, and tidal actions will last as long as the Earth last.

Lastly, this type of power plant is not a bridge to the future I speak of. It is bridge to nowhere with dangerous consequences for our survival on the planet we call home."

James Fiore: This past Wednesday CPV Gas Power plant began testing their generators. That polluted our whole nearby area. Perhaps for miles. The smell had a very bad odor and it came right into our house. The wife and I had a hard time breathing. It gave us a headache. It was in every room in our home, and all around outside our home and our neighbor's home too. There was no place to go. So, my wife and I had to get out of the house. We got into our car and drove off to find fresh air for while. This was around 9 p.m. After a few hours away, we drove back home. The smoke is still in our home. So we had a hard time settling in trying to calm down so we could get some sleep. We did not sleep very well. The smoke and smell was still with us by the morning and I notice across the street there was this cloud of smoke lying there for hours behind my neighbor's house. My neighbor's children came out to get into the school bus. They were wearing scarfs over their mouths and noses saying they couldn't breathe. My wife and I felt congested for the next 24 hours. We do live in a old house and it is porous so smoke comes right on in. It was like running your furnace without a chimney inside our home. We do burn wood pellet as we to try and help with environmental issues.

Kathy Frahme

(Sung to the tune of "This Land is Your Land" and accompanied by Frahme's banjolele)

This land is your land, this land is my land

From Wawayanda over to Pine Island

From the Hudson River to the Minisink Valley,

We have no room for C.P.V.

As I was driving down the 84 highway

I saw above me a smokey skyway

I saw below me polluted waters

Don't let this happen D.E.C.

Tanks of ammonia, smokestacks that choke 'ya

And fracking pipelines, we'd rather have solar

Built on corruption, creates pollution

We have no need for C.P.V.

Disturbed the eagles; that isn't legal

Hey Mr. Cuomo, how 'bout a veto?

If you can do it, you'll be our hero

Please pull the plug on C.P.V.!

For more information about Protect Orange County, visit ProtectOrangeCounty.org or follow them on Facebook.

See related story, "Witness says he joined bribery schemes with ex-Cuomo aide with ties to CPV plant"










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