You are reading

Weigh in on NRG’s Proposed Power Plant at Public Hearing Next Week

NRG plans to replace its 50-year-old power generators at its Astoria facility with a new turbine generator (Map NRG)

Aug. 19, 2021 By Christian Murray

Several online hearings are scheduled to take place next week that will provide the public with the opportunity to weigh in on a controversial plan that aims to revamp an Astoria powerplant.

The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation is holding a series of public hearings on Aug. 24 and Aug. 26 to solicit opinion on NRG’s plan to overhaul its 50-year-old Astoria Generating Station on 20th Avenue.

The Houston-based company plans to replace its aging gas and oil-fired turbines with a natural gas-fired plant that it says would significantly reduce its carbon footprint at the site. The company needs state approval to move forward with the plan.

NRG says the plan would reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by more than five million tons through 2035—the equivalent of taking 94,000 cars off the road each year. The company also says that the project is necessary “to keep the lights on” until more renewable energy sources are available.

The plans, however, have come under fire from elected officials and environmental groups. They argue that the revamped plant would still rely on fossil fuels, putting local residents at risk and adding to climate change.

They note that natural gas-fired power is not clean energy–and that extracted fractured gas releases methane, a greenhouse gas as dangerous as coal. They say no new power plants should be built that rely on fossil fuels.

The state has scheduled four hearings—two on Aug. 24 and two on Aug. 26–for the public to provide comment on the plan. The public, however, is required to register before 10 a.m. Aug. 23 in order to speak during the hearings (click for details).

The public must also register in advance in order to watch the hearings online. No pre-registration, however, is required to listen to them by phone.

The hearings are likely to be heated given the outcry from environmentalists and elected officials concerning the plan.

A slew of elected officials—including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mayor Bill de Blasio– have announced their opposition to the plan.

“For too long, the people of western Queens have borne the brunt of the consequences of being home to far too many of New York’s pollution-belching power plants – that needs to stop today,” Schumer said during a rally outside the Astoria plant last month.

The NRG plant, located at 31-01 20th Ave., takes up 15 acres within the 300-acre Con Edison complex, bordered by 20th Avenue, the East River and the Steinway Creek.

On the local level–elected officials such as State Senators Mike Gianaris and Jessica Ramos—have also come out against it. So too has Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani.

Gianaris, who was instrumental in the passage of state legislation in 2019 that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state, said that the new plant should not be built.

“Given the severity of the climate crisis, no new fossil fuel plants should be getting built, period,” Gianaris said at the rally last month.

The DEC has also announced that it has extended the public comment period from Aug. 29 through Sept. 13. All comments on the plan should be submitted to [email protected]

A final decision on the fate of the plant is likely to be rendered within 3 to 6 months, observers say.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, and Tiffany Caban held a press conference in opposition to the proposed NRG power plant in Astoria last month.
(Courtesy: Office of State Sen. Gianaris)

Schumer has urged the public to take advantage of the comment period and voice their opposition about the project.

NRG, meanwhile, maintains that it is unable to generate enough power via renewable energy sources alone.

“The need for reliable power is as great as ever and NRG’s plan to upgrade its Astoria plant with state-of-the-art technology will not only help ensure the lights stay on in New York City but will also bring more than 500 jobs at no cost to tax payers, while also reducing electricity costs by $1.5 billion over the first five years,” said Dave Schrader, a spokesperson for NRG, in a statement.

“NRG looks forward to receiving input during the current public comment period and working with the DEC to ensure the Project is consistent with New York State’s aggressive climate goals,” Schrader added.

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
COCED

So, ” elected officials and environmental groups” would rather have an old one burning oil and emitting greenhouse gas? Very commendable. I realize that Sen. Schumer is concerned about his seat and competition with the lunatic AOC, but, “come on, man”, turn on your brain!

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.