Town of Lloyd Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Power Plants Passes Unanimously.

The Town of Lloyd passed a proposed moratorium on fossil fuel power plants (Local Law A) unanimously last evening, allowing the community the time to take the next critical step to address its zoning law.

“This local law…enact (s) a moratorium to temporarily suspend the review and approval of applications for fossil fuel power plants. We believe that given the projected increase in relatively small fast-ramping “peaker” gas power plants, which are not subject to Article 10 State review, the Town is wise to be proactive in amending its zoning to regulate these facilities. Without such regulation air quality, treasured views, adjacent properties and residents’ quality of life could be at risk. Importantly, it’s critical to ensure that protective zoning is in place before an application is submitted for a peaker plant.” said Scenic Hudson’s Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeffrey Anzevino (and Town of Lloyd resident) in a statement he read last night. “For a variety of reasons, peaker plants are coming to the Hudson Valley and Lloyd is not alone. We believe that the Town Board’s action on this issue will serve as a model that will encourage other communities to adopt protective zoning before applications are submitted.”

The recommendation of a moratorium for zoning consideration on 25mw (or smaller) fossil fuel plants was made by Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and KingstonCitizens.org last summer, where local communities – and not the state – have authority.  The concept is appropriate for all communities in the six counties residing in the “G” Zone (see materials below for more information), and was inspired by Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a 20mw gas-fired peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster.

The Town of Lloyd’s ECC and Town Board were the first to pursue the recommendation.

“Lloyd is vulnerable.” says the letter to the Town Board of Lloyd from their ECC. “According to the Southern Ulster times article, zoning codes in the county, including Lloyd, do not address utility needs. Lloyd Planning Board Chairperson Peter Brooks indicated in the article that the lack of clear zoning guiding the review process of a proposed peaker plant would leave the town in a vulnerable position. He was quoted as saying that if such a proposal were to come before the Planning board, “we’re kind of bare-naked.”  Because of their small size, peaker plants like the 20-megawatt facility proposed in the Town of Ulster are not subject to New York State guidance regarding the siting, construction, and operation of major electric generating facilities.2 Municipalities have the primary jurisdiction for electric generating facilities under 25 megawatts. But like Lloyd, most communities are unequipped to provide an informed review of these facilities….The ECC strongly recommends that the Town Board enact a temporary moratorium on fossil fuel-powered peaker plants to protect our vulnerable community. During the proposed moratorium, we advise the Town Board to write regulations into the Town Code that allow the Town to decide if and how such plants should be sited, where they should go, and under what conditions.”

New York’s highest court has held that a municipality may exclude an industrial use if doing so is a reasonable exercise of its police powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and to promote the interests of the community as a whole.

“The ECC does not believe that fossil- fueled power plants are consistent with Lloyd’s community character. Therefore, we recommend that the Town Code be amended to prohibit them.”

The Town of Lloyd is now a model community for all of us potentially impacted by these types of projects.  We hope to see more communities in the ‘G’ Zone follow suit.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOUR COMMUNITY CAN ADDRESS ZONING ON 25MW OR SMALLER FOSSIL FUEL POWER PLANTS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES:

VIEW  the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center Project Fact Sheet

WATCH our recent Webinar “Living in the “G” Zone: Peak Energy Plants and Zoning”

LEARN  how to update your zoning language to prepare for a possible fossil fuel power plant proposal in your community.

Town of Lloyd Schedules Public Hearing For Moratorium “On approvals for the construction, installation or use of, Fossil Fuel Power Plants within the Town.”

By Rebecca Martin

The Town of Lloyd Town Board (in Ulster County and “G” Zone) has scheduled a public hearing (Wednesday at 7pm) on a moratorium “on approvals for the construction, installation or use of, Fossil Fuel Power Plants within the Town.”

Here is the proposed local law enacting the moratorium VIEW

The moratorium in the Town of Lloyd, if adopted, would be the first community in the ‘G’ Zone to take such an action – and is a direct result of our webinar and hard efforts and teamwork of our wonderful coalition of partners. Thank you Town of Lloyd!  Let their example provide a model for all other potentially impacted communities to follow suit.

VIEW
The proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center Project Fact Sheet

WATCH
Our recent Webinar “Living in the “G” Zone: Peak Energy Plants and Zoning”

LEARN
How to update your zoning language to prepare for a possible fossil fuel power plant proposal in your community.


MORE
on this:

The proposed Glidepath Lincoln Park gas-fired power plant has revealed that the Mid-Hudson region is a target for new peaker plants. A complex of state regulations makes our region particularly attractive for power plant developers. Although we don’t need additional peak capacity here, the New Capacity Zone created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014 means that plants built in our region can be paid for providing backup capacity as if they were located downstate where the capacity is needed. At the same time, the hurdles to getting the necessary state air permits are lower here than they would be in downstate areas that are in “nonattainment” of federal air standards. Combine that with much lower land prices here than downstate, and our region has a bullseye on it. The Lincoln Park plant, if built, could be just the first of many across the region to take advantage of this perverse combination of regulations. We know that Glidepath has already contacted other communities, so it is urgent that communities prepare from a proposal like this.

Power plants smaller than 25 MW in size are regulated by local land use law, rather than at the state level, but most communities do not have specific zoning in place for power plants. They often have language permitting “utility” structures, which Glidepath and other power plant companies may try to use to suggest that their plants are permitted uses, although this usage is usually intended to apply to distribution lines and other essential public infrastructure, not privately-owned power plants.

Don’t let your community get caught unprepared for a peaker plant proposal! Communities can get out in front by examining and updating their zoning to be sure it specifies where and how power plants may be located. Communities may also choose to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they develop zoning that specifically addresses power plants.”

We recommend the following steps:

1. Review your existing code:  Does it address power plants at all? Is it vague? Could a power plant potentially fit in to a “catch-all” permitted use?

2. Consider issuing a temporary moratorium while you develop zoning specific to power plants.  Moratoria should always: have a valid public purpose, have a reasonable time frame, specify the time when the moratorium will expire, and strictly adhere to the procedure for adoption laid down by the enabling acts.

3. Decide if fossil fuel power plants should be allowed at all in your town. You may decide to exclude power plants entirely from your municipality. They have very different impacts than other kinds of facilities. Localities can ban industrial uses as long as prohibiting a use is a reasonable exercise of its police powers to prevent damage to the rights of others and to promote the interests of the community as a whole.

4. Develop new zoning code provisions with specific definitions and clear conditions for fossil fuel power plants, if you decide to permit them.

 

Recommendations for zoning include:

➢  A robust “purpose and intent” section with description of potential impacts of power plants on health, safety and welfare of residents of town.

➢  A clear definition of “fossil fuel electric generating facility”: A facility whose primary purpose is for the generation of electric power (in excess of [one megawatt]) powered by fossil fuel for offsite use.➢  A clear statement of applicability to siting and construction of fossil fuel electric generating facilities within the municipality

➢  Acknowledge primacy of state law for power plants 25MW or greater


IF your municipality decides to allow fossil fuel electric generating facilities:

➢  Limit to only heavy industrial zones

➢  Require a special use permit and site plan approval, with appropriate conditions.

➢  Set criteria to address and mitigate potential impacts (i.e., screening requirements, stack height limits).

➢  Establish lot size and coverage limits, appropriate setbacks and building height limitations.

➢  Require all applicable additional permits and approvals.

➢  Require an enforceable plan and financial surety for decommissioning.

 

Sample Code Language for Issuance of Special Use Permit

The Town may not grant a special use permit for the construction or operation of a fossil fuel power generating facility, unless it shall first find and determine:

  • The nature of the probable environmental impact, including a specification of the predictable adverse effect on the environment, public health and safety, aesthetics, scenic, historic and recreational value, forest and parks, air and water quality, fish and other marine wildlife.
  • That the facility:
    • Represents the minimum adverse environmental impact;
    • Is compatible with the public health and safety;
    • Will not discharge any effluent that will be in contravention of the standards adopted by the Department of Environmental Conservation;
    • That the proposed facility is in compliance with criteria and requirements of this [section/chapter];
    • That a harmonious relationship exists between the use of such facility and uses located in adjacent districts as reflected in the comprehensive plan; and
    • That the proposed facility conforms to and is in compliance with, all zoning laws,ordinances, rules and regulations of the Town.

Kingston Common Council Letter to NYSDEC Environmental Justice Director Requesting Enchanced Participation Plan for Power Plant Proposal.

“On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the City of Kingston’s Common Council unanimously passed a resolution to amplify Mayor Steve Noble’s request for the DEC to send a written notice to the applicant requesting that it immediately commence compliance with the requirements of the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy as specified in the Department’s March 20, 2018 comments on the Draft Scope. The City of Kingston, in which the PEJA area is located. specifically requests that the Department direct the Applicant to prepare and submit an enhanced participation plan for review and approval so that it can be implemented before the public comment on the DEIS is opened. In this way, the intent of the Commissioner’s Policy is honored, and Kingston’s identified environmental justice community will be provided with sufficient time, tools and the opportunity to clearly voice. and have their comments be considered, on the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center.”

The PURPA Challenge: Is GlidePath’s Lincoln Park Power Plant really a “Utility Company Structure?”

 

By Rebecca Martin

Earlier this summer, we learned that GlidePath (aka Lincoln Park GC, LLC)  “stated that their project – the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster – could be built “as-of-right” in the Office and Manufacturing District (“OM District”) in the Town because it is a “utility company structure.”

For many months, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org and our coalition of partners requested that the Town of Ulster provide “clarity on whether the Town of Ulster Zoning Code currently regulates gas-fired power plants, and specifically request a statement as to how the Town is treating the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center under the Zoning Code.”

These requests went without any detailed explanation.

However, over the weekend we learned that even though the code in the Town of Ulster’s zoning code refers to “utility company structures” allowed as-of-right in Highway Commercial (HC), Resource Conservation (RC), Office-Medical (OM) and I districts (and by Special Use Permits (SUP) or Specific Plan (SP) Approval in R-60, 30, 10 and Land Conservation (LC) districts), that GlidePath may not be considered a utility as per an interpretation of the 1978 US Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which began the deregulation of energy companies to create competition to allow the US to break the grip of energy monopolies in the aftermath of the energy crisis.

PURPA establishes that because energy companies were “natural monopolies” (i.e., which happens to industries with infrastructure costs and other barriers to entry relative to the size of the market, giving the largest supplier an advantage over potential competitors), energy producers are non-utility generators. Cogeneration and small power production facilities are not utilities. It appears to be all in PURPA and settled case law that follows it since then.

What might this all mean for the GlidePath proposal?  We have more research to do to understand PURPA’s potential impact.

City of Kingston Requests Additional Outreach for Citizen’s Potentially at Risk in EJ Area For Proposed Power Plant Project

By Rebecca Martin

Last evening, the Kingston Common Council unanimously passed Resolution No. 227 “Requesting an (Enhanced) Public Participation Plan for Lincoln Park LLC (also known as GlidePath and/or the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center) as per the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Policy (CP) 29.” This relates directly to a fossil fuel peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster, where only 1.3 miles away (and downwind) is Kingston’s Rondout that includes an environmental justice area identified by the DEC.

What’s this all about and why is it significant?

For the last 12 months, KingstonCitizens.org – along with our environmental and citizen partners – have been following the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process for the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a 20 MW natural gas fired generation plant with diesel backup and battery storage project being proposed in the Town of Ulster, NY.

VIEW “Toolkit and Video: Residents of Ulster County and “G” Zone Counties: Temporary Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Power Plants to Address Zoning. 

During the public scoping process, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in its “Comments on Draft Scope” (March 20th, 2018) for the proposed “power plant” under Air Resources stated that, “Air Permit Applications are subject to the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy (CP-29).”

The intent of the Commissioner’s Policy (CP) requires the applicant to incorporate environmental justice into the permitting process and prepare a Public Participation Plan.

Kingston’s Environmental Justice area that was identified as being potentially impacted (in Rondout, Kingston, only 1.3 miles South of the proposed project location) would be provided with sufficient time, tools, and the opportunity to clearly voice, and have their comments be considered.

On July 23rd, 2018, Mayor Steve Noble wrote a letter to Kelly Turturro (DEC Region 3) as a follow-up, asking that the DEC “…send a written notice to the applicant requesting that it immediately commence compliance with the requirements of the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy, as specific in the Department’s March 20, 2018 Comments on Draft Scope.”

Process Steps:  Passing Resolution No. 227.

As we awaited an update from the DEC and GlidePath on this matter, on October 29, 2018 KingstonCitizens.org asked that the Kingston Common Council amplify the Mayor’s request and also ask that the DEC direct the applicant to prepare and submit an enhanced Participation Plan for review and approval, so that it can be implemented before the public comment on the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is opened – which we are expecting to be delivered at any time.

VIEW: Page 1 of request
VIEW: Page 2 of request

The process steps included getting the item on the Public Safety Committee agenda for November for discussion. The resolution language was looked over by Kingston’s Corporation Council, and sent out of committee to caucus where it went to the floor to be voted on last night – and passed unanimously.

It was a great night for this item to be on the agenda, too, as we also got to witness the Municipal ID program as well as the Mayor’s 2019 Municipal budget all pass unanimously.  We’d like to thank our elected and appointed officials and staff alike for their thoughtful leadership and hard work.

Part One
18:20 – 21:40
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org

Click on image for individual testimony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

37:15 – 38:40
Sue Rosenberg, CAPP-NY

48:55 – 51:33
Iris Marie Bloom, CAPP-NY


Part Two
Local Law of 2018 Municipal ID Program passes unanimously

Part Three

Resolution #220 to approve the city’s general fund budget for the fiscal year 2019, as Amended.

8:58 – 11:30
Ward 2 Alderman Doug Koop (Chair of Finance Committee)

11:34 – 14:06
Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott Childress (Majority Leader)

14:08 – 15:01
Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut

15:02 – 17:19
Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey

17:24 – 18:08
Ward 7 Alderman Patrick O’Reilly

Resolution is adopted 9/0

Resolution #227 requesting public participation for lincoln park llc per dec policy 29 

23:57 – 27:13
Ward 6 Alderman Tony Davis

Resolution is adopted 9/0

Invitation to Webinar (Earn Credits) Tuesday, September 25 @ 3pm: Living in the “G” Zone: GlidePath, Peak Energy Power Plants and Zoning.

KingstonCitizens.org is presenting a webinar specifically for all planning and zoning professionals living in the “G” Zone (Ulster, Orange, Greene, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess Counties). We hope that you or someone you delegate can attend on Tuesday, September 25 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.     A Q&A segment will be allotted at the end of the presentations moderated by Rebecca Martin of KingstonCitizens.org.

WATCH Webinar

Attendance to this free webinar event provides credits for the following: AICP (American Institute of Professional Planners) and NYS Planning and Zoning Board

This webinar event is brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and Riverkeeper.   With support from TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NP Climate Action Coalition. Additional supporters TBA. 

Read more…

“Strong” Turnout for Press Conference on the Proposed GlidePath Fossil-Fuel Power Plant in Town of Ulster.

Today, over 25 residents gathered at a press conference organized by TownOfUlsterCitizens.org and Pat Strong, candidate for District 46 State Senate. The group met on Riesely Street in the Town of Ulster, a densely populated residential neighborhood and ‘ground zero’ for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired fossil power plant project by GlidePath.

“Glidepath, a company from Illinois, who has never built a fossil fuel project, wants to come into our town, and build something we don’t want, we don’t need, and that gives us no benefits whatsoever.” said Laura Hartmann, one of the founding members of TownOfUlsterCitizens.org. “They come because they can get their emissions permits easier because of our clean air.  They come because of the financial incentive from NYS of $1.4 million before they even flip the on switch.”

Read more…

Town of Ulster Lawyer Reject Professionals and ToU Residents Request for Temporary Moratorium on Construction of Power Plants for Zoning Review.

Last evening, the Town of Ulster Town Board met for their regular monthly meeting. Although Town of Ulster residents and coalition partners/professionals requested that a “…temporary moratorium be placed on power plants to allow time to review zoning” be added to the agenda prior to the Monday deadline at 4:00 pm of this week, the Town Board rejected their request.

Because the item was not placed on the agenda, the public – who filled the room – were made to wait until the end of the meeting to address the Town Board. Items on the agenda can be addressed by the public prior to the start of the meeting. Items not on the agenda can be addressed by the public at the end of regular business.

During the meeting (where the Town Board approved one negative declaration in SEQR after another on new build projects in the town), when inquiring citizens asked questions about projects that were being discussed, they were met with eye rolls and sneers by some of the developers, town board members and even the Supervisor himself, “…so you’re asking the town board to stop development…no I’m serious. What are you asking of the town board?”  (31:55 -34:14)

Incomplete segments of the public comment period were reported in today’s local paper, having left out important points that were made. Fortunately, you can review the audio from last evening as well as to tune into some of the key moments identified below.

 

 

40:51 -43:26
Laura Hartmann
Town of Ulster resident
TownOfUlsterCitizens.org

Submits 177 signatures from a letter submitted by residents of the Town of Ulster requesting that the Town Supervisor and Town Board publically state whether they consider the “GlidePath project a “Utility Company Structure” permitted as-of-right in the OM zone as GlidePath have been claiming and; That a growing number of ToU residents ask for a temporary moratorium on construction of power plants while it considers zoning that specifically regulates power plants.” When asked when/if the Town Board would comment or make a decision on these requests, Supervisor Quigley responded, “You’re making your comments to the town board, we acknowledge hearing you. Thank you.”

Read more…

TOOLKIT AND VIDEO – Residents of Ulster County and ‘G’ Zone Counties: Temporary Moratorium on Fossil-Fuel Power Plants To Address Zoning.

By Rebecca Martin

Last evening, approximately 150 people attended our public forum and community BBQ “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.

We learned that residents of Ulster County and vulnerable communities throughout the ‘G’ zone have no time to waste to address 25 MW fossil fuel power plants (where local communities have oversight) in their zoning ordinances.

As promised, we have created action items for both Town of Ulster residents AND all Ulster County residents and all of those living in the ‘G’ zone.

Video and PowerPoint from both presentations are available following our step by step actions.

We would like to keep track of the communities who pursue this information, so please send any updates to Rebecca Martin at rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org


Additional Resources
:

1.  VIEW  Ulster County Executive Mike Hein Statement re: GlidePath.

2. VIEW Coalition Letter to Town of Ulster: Temporary Moratorium on Power Plants to Address Zoning Code.  

 

TOOLKIT: Step by Step to Address Zoning and Peak Power Plants
This resident action was made possible by the generous support of Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and KingstonCitizens.org

 

ACTION FOR TOWN OF ULSTER RESIDENTS

Urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

The next Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting will occur on Thursday, August 16th at 7:00pm at the Town of Ulster Town Hall, 1 Town Hall Drive, Lake Katrine, NY.

1.First, in towns, zoning Must Be Consistent with Comprehensive Plans (NYS Town Law §  263)

2.Please request that the Town of Ulster Supervisor and Town Board adopt a temporary moratorium on construction of power plants while it considers zoning that specifically regulates power plants.

3.Demand that the town Supervisor and Town Board publicly state whether they consider the GlidePath project a “utility company structure” permitted as-of-right in the OM zone as GlidePath has been claiming.

 

ACTION FOR ULSTER COUNTY RESIDENTS AND ALL LIVING IN VULNERABLE AREAS IN THE ‘G’ ZONE. (Ulster, Greene, Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam Counties).

To ensure that your town doesn’t end up with a gas-fired power plant proposed just feet from a residential neighborhood, urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

Smaller “peaker” power plants (25 MW or less) are primarily under jurisdiction of local governments, and not “New York State” and are going to become increasingly prevalent throughout the Hudson Valley.

Most municipalities do not have zoning specifically regulating power plants.

Q.  Should power plants be allowed at all in our town? Would prohibiting them constitute impermissible exclusionary zoning? 

Not necessarily. NYS courts have stated that municipalities can ban industrial uses as long as prohibiting a use is a reasonable exercise of its police powers to prevent damage to the rights of others and to promote the interests of the community as a whole.
(Gernatt Asphalt Products v. Town of Sardinia)

If power plants are permitted in your town, how should our zoning regulate them?  They should only be permitted:

•In heavy industrial zones that are designated for uses that generate significant noise, traffic or pollutants and are far away from important environmental areas and residences;

•With a special use permit;

•Subject to strict conditions related to noise, stack height, etc.;

•Subject to minimum lot size and coverage (subject to underlying zoning requirements or can create specific new standards); and;

•With an enforceable decommissioning plan requiring restoration of the site to original condition or better.

 

VIDEO #1: “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.”

1:16 – 15:02
County Executive Mike Hein
“You’re here because you care about something that is fundamentally wrong and stopping it…your county executive is going to fight like hell to push back on this.”

15:10 – 17:55
Amanda LaValle, Department of the Environment, Ulster County
“Executive Order #2 of 2018 speaks to Ulster County’s commitment to renewable energy and insuring more renewable projects like the Town of Ulster Solar Landfill project, as well as to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and going further to expand with a community emissions reduction goal of 80% over the 2012 baseline by 2050.

18:01 – 23:13
Laura Hartmann, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Welcome and Thanks

23:15 – 30:00
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
Welcome, Coalition Partners and Panel Opening

30:38 – 53:25
Evelyn Wright, Citizens for Local Power
Please follow along with her powerpoint available HERE

Solutions to GlidePath’s peak power plant proposal in the Town of Ulster:

1.Serve the distribution system: Non-wires alternatives. ConEd is actively looking for storage developers for projects downstate.

2. Hybridize existing peaker plants. NYS has 3000 MW of very old, very dirty peaker plants that need to make changes to meet new air regulations (again mostly downstate).

3. Partner with an industrial or commercial site that can use some of the batteries’ services.

4. Storage-plus-renewables. Renewables do not have to be co-located on the same site in order to get state incentives!

5. Storage only. Actively participate in the evolving NYISO and NYSERDA/PSC processes that will change the storage market landscape over the next two years AND design a storage-one project that benefits from those incentives.

53:40 – end
Hayley Carlock, Scenic Hudson
Please follow along with her powerpoint available HERE

The role that local zoning plays with smaller power plants generally. Urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

Here’s how.

1. First, in towns, zoning must be consistent with “Comprehensive Plans” (NYS Town Law § 263).

2. If power plants are permitted in our town, how should our zoning regulate them?

They should only be permitted:

•In heavy industrial zones that are designated for uses that generate significant noise, traffic or pollutants and are far away from important environmental areas and residences;

•With a special use permit;

•Subject to strict conditions related to noise, stack height, etc.;

•Subject to minimum lot size and coverage (subject to underlying zoning requirements or can create specific new standards); and;

•With an enforceable decommissioning plan requiring restoration of the site to original condition or better.

 

VIDEO #2:  “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.”

Hayley Carlock, Scenic Hudson (Continued)

00:00 – 1:35
ToU History on Solar Moratorium.

1:36 – 4:03
Action for Town of Ulster Residents

4:04 – 10:06
Action for Residents if you don’t live in the ToU.

10:07 – 12:46
Update on GlidePath and SEQR process

13:00 – End
Question and Answer period

Coalition Partners and Citizens Request Temporary Moratorium on GlidePath Power Plant Project in Town of Ulster

Coalition partners ask about a temporary moratorium on power plants in the Town of Ulster to review zoning code, as they did on Solar Energy Systems last September.

Out ahead of this evening’s Public Forum (8/10/18) “Living In the “G” Zone: Glidepath, Peak Power and Ulster County“, coalition partners, who have been working together since November of 2017 to encourage a fully transparent, public process as it pertains to the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster, NY), have requested a temporary moratorium on the proposal for the Town of Ulster Town Board to give “…clarity on whether the Town of Ulster Zoning Code (the “Zoning Code”) currently regulates gas-fired power plants, and specifically request a statement as to how the Town is treating the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (the “Project”) under the Zoning Code.”

“In 2017, the Town proposed a temporary moratorium on the installation of freestanding or ground-mounted solar energy systems. The Town’s stated rationale for doing so was that solar energy facilities are “not currently regulated in the Town of Ulster Zoning Code.” Therefore, a solar power generation facility does not, in the Town’s view, constitute a “utility company structure”. As both solar facilities and gas-fired power plants generate electricity, and a solar facility would very likely have fewer negative impacts than a gas-fired power plant, it makes no sense that a gas-fired power plant would be considered a “utility company structure” while a commercial solar facility would not. Therefore, we request that the Town clarify that the proposed Project is not an as-of-right permitted use within the OM District in the Town.”

TownOfUlsterCitizens.org will deliver a copy of the letter with signatures from residents at the Town of Ulster’s next Town Board meeting on August 16th.

An action for communities who are vulnerable in the “G” Zone (living in an attainment area that includes upper Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Greene counties) will be led through steps to encourage their municipalities to shore up their zoning for peak energy plants that are 25mw’s or less at tonight’s public forum.  All materials, including video from today’s event, will be provided as a tool kit to be shared.

Read more…

CoK Mayor Steve Noble Advocates for Public Participation Plan for ToU Power Plant Proposal in Rondout’s Potential Environmental Justice Area.

In April, we learned that in during the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) SEQR Scoping comments regarding the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (a gas-fired peak energy power plant in the Town of Ulster), state officials wrote that “If the air data indicates that the project’s potential impact area includes the Potential Environment Justice Area (in the City of Kingston’s Rondout) the applicant will be required to incorporate environmental justice into the permitting process and prepare a public participation plan as described in the attached environmental justice fact sheet.”

In the DEC’s Commissioner Policy #29 Environmental Justice and Permitting, the “policy amends the DEC environmental permit process by identifying potential environmental justice areas; providing information on environmental justice to applicants with proposed projects in those communities; enhancing public participation requirements for proposed projects in those communities; establishing requirements for projects in potential environmental justice areas with the potential for at least one significant adverse environmental impact; and providing alternative dispute resolution opportunities to allow communities and project sponsors to resolve issues of concern to the community.”

In the the City of Kingston, there are two “Potential Environmental Justice Areas“. One in Uptown and in the Rondout, downwind of potential emissions produced by the gas-fired power plant that is being proposed.

It was reported that the other comments about the environmental review of the project from the state include:

  1. Finding that the project is located within an area of potential historical or archeological significance and may have visual impacts on the Hudson River National Landmark Historic District.
  2. Requesting an evaluation of whether the project is consistent with the state energy plan and suggested the developer consult with the state Department of Public Service.
  3. Noting that the project site has the potential for a “high abundance and diversity of amphibians and other vernal pool associated wildlife.” State officials added that there are also potential impacts on habitat for the Northern Long-eared and Indiana bats due to planned tree removal.
  4. A reminder that some of the property appears on federal wetlands maps and that the developer will need to conduct surveys to establish precise boundaries.

Since then, the City of Kingston has not heard another word on how the project sponsor intends to respond to the DEC’s request.  On Tuesday of this week, Mayor Steve Noble sent a letter to the DEC’s Region 3 Regional Director Kelly Turturro to follow-up.

” … I ask that the DEC send a written notice to the applicant requesting that it immediately commence compliance with the requirements of the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy, as specific in the Department’s March 20, 2018 Comments on the Draft Scope. The City of Kingston, in which the PEJA area is located, specifically requests that the Department direct the Applicant to prepare and submit an enhanced participation plan for review and approval, so that it can be implemented before the public comment on the DEIS is opened. In this way, the intent of the Commissioner’s Policy is honored, and Kingston’s identified environmental justice community will be provided with sufficient time, tools and the opportunity to clearly voice, and have their comments be considered, on the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. “

For today, you can reach out to our Mayor and thank him for taking a proactive approach on this. Without having done so, it isn’t clear whether or not the applicant would have complied.  This will most certainly help.

Send your thanks to:  mayor@kingston-ny.gov

We’ll follow-up as we learn more.

Kingston’s Got Skin in the Game. The Lincoln Park Power Plant Final Scope Delay and Rescheduled Balloon Test.

By Rebecca Martin

At last week’s Town of Ulster Workshop meeting, we learned that the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency did not submit the Final Scope to Glidepath (the applicant) to make the April 2nd deadline.  What happened?

DEC Requests Additional Air Quality Review and Comments.

In the DEC’s Commissioner Policy #29 Environmental Justice and Permitting, the “policy amends the DEC environmental permit process by identifying potential environmental justice areas; providing information on environmental justice to applicants with proposed projects in those communities; enhancing public participation requirements for proposed projects in those communities; establishing requirements for projects in potential environmental justice areas with the potential for at least one significant adverse environmental impact; and providing alternative dispute resolution opportunities to allow communities and project sponsors to resolve issues of concern to the community.”

City of Kingston’s Got Skin in the Game.

In the the City of Kingston, there are two “Potential Environmental Justice Areas“. One in Uptown and in the Rondout, downwind of potential emissions produced by the gas-fired power plant that is being proposed.

“If the air data indicates that the project’s potential impact area includes the Potential Environment Justice Area the applicant will be required to incorporate environmental justice into the permitting process and prepare a public participation plan as described in the attached environmental justice fact sheet.” state officials wrote.

In the Daily Freeman, it was reported that the other comments about the environmental review of the project from the state include:

  1. Finding that the project is located within an area of potential historical or archeological significance and may have visual impacts on the Hudson River National Landmark Historic District.
  2. Requesting an evaluation of whether the project is consistent with the state energy plan and suggested the developer consult with the state Department of Public Service.
  3. Noting that the project site has the potential for a “high abundance and diversity of amphibians and other vernal pool associated wildlife.” State officials added that there are also potential impacts on habitat for the Northern Long-eared and Indiana bats due to planned tree removal.
  4. A reminder that some of the property appears on federal wetlands maps and that the developer will need to conduct surveys to establish precise boundaries.

DAILY FREEMAN  “Town of Ulster gets Two additional weeks to frame review of proposed electric generator”

 

Rescheduled Balloon Tests Monday, April 9th at 8:00am.

“Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley noted “that developers have agreed to find a way to conduct balloon tests that will accurately reflect the proposed height of emission stacks for the project. Tests attempted on Thursday were aborted early because balloons were popping when blown into trees, with the balloons that were seen above the tree line actually flown at 128 feet instead of the anticipated 100-foot height of planned stacks.”  (Daily Freeman)

In a letter submitted to the Town of Ulster alerting the town of rescheduled Balloon Tests:

The Project sponsors plan to fly a five (5) foot diameter weather balloon at a height of 80 feet to simulate the height of the exhaust stack of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. The balloon flight is tentatively scheduled for Monday April 9th at 8AM and is weather dependent.   If winds or weather conditions are not favorable, this work will be rescheduled.  It is anticipated that a red balloon will be flown at 80 feet and a yellow spotter balloon at 100 or 120 feet- all subject to field conditions.

This work will aid the Town in evaluating the potential visual impacts of the proposed facility located on property located between Frank Sottile Boulevard and Miron Lane.  The site is identified on Town of Ulster Tax Map as Section 48.12 Block 1 Lot 20, Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 1, and Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 2.210. 

Once the balloon is up, it will remain aloft for approximately two hours (again subject to weather conditions) to allow project representatives to photograph the balloon from sites within a five (5) mile radius of the site.

Receptors for visual analysis include the following locations based on the draft scope and a public document. One of our coalition partners, Scenic Hudson, suggests that members of the public near the following locations at the time of the balloon tests to please take and submit photos and impressions to rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

  • View from Hudson Valley Mall on Frank Sottile Boulevard;
    • Not sure where the best place would be.
  • View from westbound lane of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge;
    • Cannot stop on the bridge. Maybe the consultants have obtained permission.
  • View from Tivoli Bay State Unique Area;
    • Suggested Poet’s Walk Park instead.
  • View from Dutchess County Route 103 in vicinity of Ryan Road;
    • Not sure if Ryan Road is the best spot. May be too far south.
  • View from Lucas Avenue near Town-City boundary;
    • This is too far. Only the plume would be an issue.
  • View from NYS Route 209 in the vicinity of NYS Route 28;
    • Possibly relevant. Plume would certainly be an issueÂ
  • View from eastern shore of Hudson River looking toward project site;
    • Rhinecliff waterfront park is the most likely location. Unless they drive north along the RR. Scenic Hudson will cover this
  • View from Van Kleeck Lane (Between Quail Dr. and Ledge Road)
    • Important location. Residents should be aware. Scenic Hudson will also check.
  • Other critical receptors identified during balloon test;
    • We should all be looking for the balloons from important places in the community
  • Other locations of significance;
    • Poet’s Walk Park
      • Scenic Hudson will be there
    • Ferncliff Fire Tower
      • Scenic Hudson will be there

Next Steps in SEQR and the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center in the Town of Ulster.

By Rebecca Martin

Today, the Final Scope is due to be delivered to the applicant (GlidePath) by the Lead Agency (Town of Ulster Town Board) in the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster.  Hundreds of comments were submitted over the course of 50 days, and we anticipate a copy of the Final Scope to review and to share to our readers when we do.

In the meantime, here is a 30,000-foot view of the next steps in the SEQR process to help citizens to plan.  We, of course, will continue to break each step down to the best of our ability as they occur.

 

NEXT STEPS IN SEQR
The proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster

REVIEW: Follow along and learn more detail by reading “The SEQR Handbook”

 

1. FINAL SCOPE.  The Final Scope is created by the Lead Agency to be delivered to the applicant, Involved Agencies and the public on Monday, April 2nd, 2018.

At the Lead Agency’s discretion, comments that were submitted during the Draft Scope public comment period (February 1 – March 22) may be found in the Final Scope.

What if my comments are not represented in the Final Scope?

Commenters can submit a written statement of anything missing from the Final Scope to the Lead Agency. At the applicant’s discretion, they may be included in the DEIS.

 

2. DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is released.  The DEIS is the “primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action. The draft also provides a basis for public review of, and comment on, an action’s potential environmental effects. The DEIS accomplishes those goals by examining the nature and extent of identified potential environmental impacts of an action, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.”

  • The DEIS is based on the Final Scope and prepared by the applicant.
  • There is no set time-frame for when the DEIS is delivered to the Lead Agency.
  • Once the DEIS is released to the Lead Agency, they will have forty-five (45) days to determine its adequacy before either releasing it to the public or returning it to the applicant for further review.

If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as INADEQUATE: 

If the Lead Agency determines any part of the DEIS as inadequate, it is sent back to the applicant, “…specifying the reasons for its unacceptability.”

  • There is no time-frame for when it is to be further revised and returned to the Lead Agency.
  • Upon its return, the Lead Agency has thirty (30) days to review the resubmitted DEIS to again determine whether or not it is adequate. There is no maximum time, however, for public comment and Lead Agency consideration of the DEIS.
  • “The SEQR regulations place no limit on rejections of a submitted draft EIS, other than requiring that the lead agency must identify the deficiencies in writing to the project sponsor” 

If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as ADEQUATE:

The Lead Agency must prepare and file a “Notice of Completion” to announce that it has accepted the DEIS and open the public review and comment period. A copy of the DEIS, must be filed with the appropriate DEC regional office, and with the involved agencies.

  • The minimum public review period is thirty (30) days calculated from the filing date of the “Notice of Completion”.

What can the public request once the DEIS is released?   

“The public may request a longer public comment period at this time as well as a public hearing, although public hearings are optional under SEQR.  Lead Agency determines public hearings according to SEQR in the following ways.

  • The degree of interest in the action shown by the public or involved agencies;
  • Whether substantive or significant environmental issues have been raised;
  • The adequacy of the mitigation measures proposed;
  • The extent of alternatives considered; and
  • The degree to which a public hearing can aid the agency decision-making process by providing an efficient mechanism for the collection of public comments.

In addition, in determining whether to hold a SEQR hearing, the lead agency should consider if there is a need for:

  • An opportunity for broader public disclosure;
  • Solicitation of important and informative comment by certain interest groups, technical specialists, or community representatives; or
  • An opportunity for a project sponsor to briefly discuss the project and DEIS.”

3. FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) “The Lead Agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the FEIS.  The applicant may be requested to prepare draft responses to some or all of the substantive comments received on a DEIS. However, Lead Agency must still review any responses prepared by the applicant to ensure that the analyses and conclusions accurately represent the lead agency’s assessment. The Lead Agency may need to edit a sponsor’s draft responses. The Lead Agency may also consult with other involved agencies, or with outside consultants, but this in no way reduces the responsibility of the Lead Agency for the final product.”

SEQR does not require a public hearing or comment period on the FEIS.  “Interested parties or agencies may choose to submit comments on a final EIS to clarify points made earlier, or to identify comments that have not been satisfactorily responded to in the final EIS. These comments could influence the lead agency, or other involved agencies, in making findings and taking final actions.”

There is such a thing as a “supplemental EIS” that “provides an analysis of one or more significant adverse environment impacts which were not addressed, or inadequately addressed, in a draft or final EIS. A supplemental EIS may also be required to analyze the site-specific effects of an action previously discussed in a generic EIS.”  This is nothing to pay mind to now, but if necessary, it is a tool for further study.

4.  FINDINGS.   The preparation of written SEQR findings is required by the SEQR regulations for any action that has been the subject of a FEIS and are made by ALL Involved Agencies.

“A findings statement is a written document, prepared following acceptance of a FEIS, which declares that all SEQR requirements for making decisions on an action have been met. The findings statement identifies the social and economic, as well as environmental, considerations that have been weighed in making a decision to approve or disapprove an action.”

When the action is not approved.

If the action cannot be approved based on analyses in the FEIS, a negative findings statement must be prepared, documenting the reasons for the denial.

When the action is approved. 

“A positive findings statement means that, after consideration of the FEIS, the project or action can be approved, and the action chosen is the one that minimizes or avoids environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable. For an action which can be approved, an agency’s findings statement must articulate that agency’s balancing of adverse environmental impacts against the needs for and benefits of the action.

Each involved agency, not only the lead agency, must prepare its own SEQR findings following acceptance of a FEIS. Findings provide “the teeth” in the SEQR process because they articulate the basis for substantive aspects of each agency’s decision, including supporting any conditions to be imposed by the agency. Whether findings support approval or denial of an action, the agency’s reasoning must be stated in the form of facts and conclusions that are derived from the FEIS.”

When findings differ between Involved Agencies.

“Agencies involved in the same action may have entirely different findings. This can result from agencies’ differing balancing of environmental with social and economic factors, as well as from fundamental differences among agencies’ underlying jurisdictions. An involved agency is not obligated to make the same findings as the lead agency or any other involved agency. However, findings must be based on, and related to, information in the EIS record. If one agency prepares positive findings, and another prepares negative findings, the action cannot go forward unless the conflict is resolved.”

Draft Scope Comments For Lincoln Park Power Plant Project Submitted by Citizens and Coalition Partners.

TownOfUlsterCitizens.org co-founders     Laura Hartmann and Regis Obijiski today at Town of Ulster Town Hall delivering scoping comments for the proposed Lincoln Park power plant project in the ToU.
Today, out ahead of the March 22nd deadline (at 4:00 pm), TownOfUlsterCitizens.org founders Laura Hartmann and Regis Obijiski submitted Town of Ulster citizens scoping comments.   With 24 pages and 206 Town of Ulster citizen signatures, it is an incredible success.
Click on image to review document.
      Click on image to review document.

Meanwhile, Scenic Hudson generously included the coalition of partners in their scoping comments document that included new members, the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Kingston Land Trust.  The teamwork for this process has been exemplary – all for the public good.

     Click on image to review document
You can review Catskill Mountainkeeper Draft Scope comments by clicking on the image below:
Click on image to review document

 

You can review Citizens for Local Power Draft Scope comments by clicking on the image below:

 

Click on image to review document
Deadline for comments on the Draft Scope of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster are due tomorrow: Thursday, March 22nd at 4:00 pm.  
VIEW our facebook event for all details.

Air Quality Scoping Issues and the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a Gas-Fired Power Plant in the Town of Ulster.

By Rebecca Martin

Since the Draft Scope for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project (a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster) was released on February 1, citizens have been focused on improving the document with many generous not-for-profit partners and experts who have provided support and assistance.

One of those experts is the Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist Paul A. Rubin, who spent all day yesterday at a weather station nearest to the proposed site, to create the following maps that can help us to identify air quality scoping items.

“I focused on finding and assessing data from the nearest weather station with wind velocity and direction data (available through Weather Underground: KNYKINGS15).  This Kingston weather station is approximately 13,590 ft south of the proposed emission tower (~ 2.57 miles; elevation: 138 ft msl).  I reviewed five years of weather data and selected assorted wind speeds as a basis to calculate wind/emissions arrival times outward from the proposed emissions stack, downloaded imagery data, and generated the attached maps using GIS technology.  The only difference between the three attached maps is the background base.The assorted colored circles represent example emission plume arrival times for assorted wind speeds.  Arrival of stack gases at the outer rings would require worst-case temperature inversion conditions with minimal wind dispersion.”

Air Quality Scoping Issues: Identify all potential human receptors that may inhale toxic exhaust emissions from the Lincoln Park stack under worst case weather conditions (e.g., temperature inversions). Identify all potential adverse health impacts (e.g., CO2 poisoning/hypercapnia).

1990s color infrared imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)
2016 imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)
ESRI road base map imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)